Gov. J.B. Pritzker says the state's stay-at-home order is "still very much in effect," despite a court ruling that granted a temporary restraining order for a southern Illinois lawmaker.
"This ruling only applies to one person, because it was only ever about one person," Pritzker said Tuesday.
He noted, however, that the risk from the court's decision, which exempts state Rep. Darren Bailey from abiding by restrictions, "is significant." Bailey, a Republican from Xenia, Illinois, filed suit last week claiming Pritzker exceeded his authority and violated the civil rights of the state’s residents by extending the order another 30 days in May.
"By agreeing with the plaintiff in this initial ruling, the court set a dangerous precedent," Pritzker said. "Slowing the spread of this virus is critical to saving lives by ensuring our healthcare system has the resources to treat patients who get sick. We will not stop this virus if, because of this ruling, any resident can petition to be exempted from aspects of the orders that rely on collective action to keep us all safe."
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Pritzker, through Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, filed a notice of appeal aimed at overturning the ruling.
Pritzker on Thursday said he planned to extend his stay-at-home order through May 30 as the highly contagious coronavirus continued to spread and infect thousands across the state.
In the latest order, Pritzker relaxed the decree to allow for some outdoor activities and many previously barred surgeries and medical treatments. It allows some retailers to reopen to fill online or pickup orders. The governor is requiring face coverings in public for anyone older than 2, both indoors and outside if the recommended 6-foot social distance can’t be maintained.
“We are in possibly the most difficult parts of this journey,” Pritzker said. “I know how badly we all want our normal lives back. Believe me, if I could make that happen right now, I would, but this is the part when we have to dig in.”
Illinois' public health director reported the state's highest number of deaths in a single day Tuesday, with 144 additional fatalities in 24 hours. At the same time, 2,219 new coronavirus cases were also reported statewide, bringing the total number of infections to 48,201 as Illinois nears a peak, state health officials said.
Bailey said the power and authority Pritzker wields in the current crisis "calls for an immediate review and reconsideration of legislative intent.”
He added the economic downtown that has resulted from Pritzker’s order is doing far more damage than the virus has done.
“Our governor has created a second pandemic that I believe is going to be more far-reaching than the COVID-19 situation,” he said.
Another hearing in the case is scheduled for next week.