coronavirus illinois

Small Business Owners, Residents React to Illinois’ Stay-at-Home Order Extension

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday extended Illinois' statewide stay-at-home order through May 30

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Illinois residents and small business owners understand why Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended the state-wide stay-at-home order on Thursday, but still say it stings.

On Thursday, Pritzker announced the stay-at-home order will be in effect through May 30, though changes will be put in place for some Illinois businesses, including modified restrictions on non-essential businesses.

But Josh Cooley, the owner of Chicago's Belmont Barbershop, says the new changes don’t help his business as he’s forced to keep doors closed.

“They are telling responsible business owners they cannot work. This hurts our dignity,” Cooley said, fighting back tears. “Not being able to earn money is very hard for us.”

Illinois residents will soon be required to cover their faces when in public spaces Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday. The new stay-at-home order also allows for the reopening of several businesses across the state, as well as golf courses and state parks.

While business owners fight financial battles, others say the extension is taking a psychological toll on their well-being.

“The hardest part is not having anywhere to go,” said Chicago resident Katherine Cardenas. “Yes, you can go outside for a jog or bike ride but you are still not getting interaction with other people. And so when you are stuck at home every single day and not having any normal interaction like you’re used to I think it is depressing.”

As some struggle with the lack of interaction, some agree with the extension, recognizing the severity of the virus.

“I think it will keep everyone safe and everyone smart and stay home and try to stay healthy,” said Chicago resident Eric McMullan.

State officials have created a free mental health service called “Call 4 Calm” and can be reached by texting the word “COVID” to 312-500-3836.

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