(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)
Several churches across Illinois are continuing to open their doors in defiance of the statewide stay-at-home order that remains in effect.
Meanwhile, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has released guidelines for businesses looking to reopen their doors in phase three of his "Restore Illinois" plan.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (May 25):
Rally at Grant Park Dispersed, Mayor Says
A "large unpermitted gathering" at Chicago's Millennium Park was dispersed Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted.
Images on social media appeared to show that the gathering was a "Reopen Illinois" rally of people pushing to lift coronavirus restrictions earlier than the state's intended timeframe. Illinois remains under a stay-at-home order through the end of the month that prohibits any gatherings not deemed to be essential.
"Regarding today’s large unpermitted gathering at Millennium Park: while we respect 1st amendment rights, this gathering posed an unacceptable health risk and was dispersed. No matter where in the city you live, no one is exempt from @GovPritzker’s stay-at-home order," Lightfoot tweeted at 2:41 p.m.
When asked if she would send Chicago police to the rally, she tweeted a simple "Yes."
More Than 1,700 New Coronavirus Cases Reported
Health officials in Illinois on Monday reported 1,713 new cases of coronavirus, along with 31 additional deaths.
Those totals bring the number of cases to 112,107 with 4,884 deaths statewide.
Over the previous 24 hours, Illinois officials said 21,643 new test results were confirmed by state labs, bringing the statewide total to 769,564 tests.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the rolling positivity rate on those tests stands at 12 percent.
The latest metrics still point to all four regions of the state being able to move to phase three of the "Restore Illinois" reopening plan, with positivity rates, hospitalization data and ventilator usage still falling within appropriate margins.
Pritzker Unveils New Guidelines for Businesses Reopening in Phase Three
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled a series of guidelines for businesses hoping to reopen their doors in Phase Three of the "Restore Illinois" plan later this month.
The safety guidelines will allow for businesses to reopen with enhanced social distancing guidelines in place, and will require additional cleaning protocols for businesses reopening during the next phase of the state's phased plan.
Those businesses, including hair salons, manufacturing facilities and small retailers, can reopen when Phase Three begins at month's end.
Churches Continue to Violate Stay-at-Home Orders
Several churches across Illinois are continuing to open their doors in defiance of the statewide stay-at-home order limiting gathering sizes amid the pandemic.
Metro Praise International Church in the City’s Belmont-Craign neighborhood welcomed churchgoers for the second weekend in a row on Sunday.
Under the state's stay-at-home order, religious services with 10 or fewer people are currently allowed. Gatherings of 50 or fewer people will not be allowed until phase four of the reopening plan, beginning no earlier than late June.
Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Albany Park also held services, and sued Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker over the limitations.
Last week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also requested that churches wait to hold services until she slowly reopens the city in June.
Lightfoot said that she's focused on making sure people can celebrate their faith in a safe way, and discussions are underway regarding particular traditions that could spread the virus like singing or communion.
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