Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Saturday issued a stern plea to St. Patrick's Day partygoers in Chicago and throughout the state, urging them to go home in hope of limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
While popular parades and Chicago's famous river dyeing were canceled, many revelers were seen throughout the city, including some who participated in bar crawls that went on as planned.
At a news conference where state health officials announced an additional 16 coronavirus cases, Gov. Pritzker called on people who are seemingly young and healthy to follow social distancing guidelines.
"We can have a massive, positive effect on bending the transmission curve thereby saving lives if people will take this seriously," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people keep a distance of six feet from others to avoid spreading or catching the virus.
On Thursday, Gov. Pritzker announced a ban on all large gatherings of 1,000 people or more statewide. He also asked that all gatherings of 250 people or more also be postponed amid the outbreak.
Several times throughout Saturday's news conference, Gov. Pritzker echoed calls for people to stay home — no matter how healthy they feel.
"You may only have mild symptoms for a few days, and may think you are just fine, but you could have the unintended, tragic effect of spreading COVID-19 to others who may be more vulnerable," Gov. Pritzker added. "Please, please do the right thing for your community, for your friends and for your family."