As Chicago issued a stay-at-home "advisory" and implements new gathering limitations, the city warned residents to avoid large family gatherings this Thanksgiving.
"You must cancel the normal Thanksgiving plans," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday. "Particularly if they include guests that do not live in your immediate household."
City officials warned that at their current rate, cases are doubling every 12 days. With the current average of 2,000 cases per day, that would mean that by Thanksgiving, the city could see 4,000 new cases coming in each day.
"We're not set up for this level of outbreak," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. "And if you look at that curve, there's been no sign yet of it slowing down."
Chicago is on track to see 1,000 additional coronavirus deaths, possibly more, by the end of the year if changes aren't made to slow the spread of the deadly virus, city officials said Thursday.
“Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that we undertake this multi-faceted and comprehensive effort to stop the virus in its tracks,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement announcing a new strategy called "Protect Chicago" that includes a stay-at-home advisory and new restrictions on gatherings as the city and the world faces what experts are warning could be the deadliest surge of the pandemic yet.
The stay-at-home advisory is set to take effect at 6 a.m. on Monday, officials said.
It asks that residents "only leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up take-out food, or receiving deliveries," a statement announcing the advisory reads.
City officials also advise residents not to have gatherings inside their homes with anyone outside of their household, even trusted family and friends, and to avoid all non-essential out-of-state travel. Chicago officials have for months asked that anyone required to travel to or from the list of states on the city's emergency order - now including 43 states - quarantine or test negative prior to arrival in the city, with the requirement depending on the state and the severity of its outbreak.
The stay-at-home advisory also asks that everyone practice social distancing by staying six feet away from others and wearing a face covering at all times, as experts have advised for months.
The city also specifically noted that holidays should be celebrated using phone or video chat instead of in-person visits.
In addition to the stay-at-home advisory, Chicago officials also announced new restrictions on gatherings Thursday. The restrictions limit meetings and social events to 10 people, both indoors and outdoors, and will also take effect at 6 a.m. on Monday.
The latest restrictions also come one day after the Illinois Department of Public Health urged residents to stay in their homes and only leave for "essential activities." The health department also asked employers to let employees work from home if possible and recommended against gatherings or travel.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has hinted at the possibility of another statewide stay-at-home order could be in store as the state's coronavirus metrics rapidly climb.
"I'm very concerned as we approach Thanksgiving," Pritzker said earlier this week. "I'm very concerned as these numbers rise. And as a result, as I've told you, for days, you know, we are looking at really all the possibilities - the possibility that we would have to go back a phase, the possibility that we would have to ultimately have a stay-at-home order - those are not things that I prefer to do. But those are things that these numbers are not sustainable."