As Illinois reported more than 2,000 coronavirus cases Friday - the highest daily case count in more than two months - Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a stern warning to residents, pleading for compliance to the state's face mask requirement.
"This is a make or break moment for the state of Illinois for making sure that people are doing everything they can to mitigate, to reduce the spread," an adamant Pritzker said.
The number of cases reported, 2,084, is the highest daily case increase since May 24, which saw more than 2,500 new cases in a single day. That date also reported significantly fewer test results, however.
An additional 21 newly-reported fatalities brought the state’s death toll to 7,613, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. As of the afternoon hours, 13 of the state's counties were at a "warning level" for the coronavirus.
The warning means each of the counties saw increases in two or more COVID-19 "risk indicators," the health department said.
Last week, 11 counties were at a "warning level," five of which remained on the list Friday.
As he addressed the importance of wearing face coverings, the governor signed a law that allows anyone who assaults a worker enforcing a mask requirement or public health guidance to be prosecuted for aggravated battery.
The new measure "offers protections from assault for retail workers, many of whom are tasked with asking the public to follow certain COVID mitigation measures indoors," Pritzker said at a news conference. "In many ways, these workers are now serving at the forefront of public health mitigation efforts in encouraging social distancing and the use of face coverings."
Get the latest news on COVID vaccines in your inbox. Click here to sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
The law also increases paid disability leave by 60 days for law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics, among others, whose recovery was hindered by COVID-19.
State officials also announced the IDPH would be filing a set of emergency rules to allow local law enforcement agencies and health officials more flexibility in enforcing regulations like the mask mandate or restrictions on gathering sizes.
Under those emergency rules, Illinois businesses that do not enforce public health requirements can fined up to $2,500.
"...All the people who are shopping are safe all the people who are in bars or restaurants or in other locations," Pritzker said. "We want to make sure that they're safe and healthy. And this is one way for us to make sure that businesses that have been scofflaws on the subject, know that there is a real penalty at the end of the line here."