ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – After Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that he would extend the state’s stay at home order through May, state Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights, is asking residents to follow health guidelines to prevent a second outbreak of COVID-19.
“This is an incredibly difficult time, but now more than ever we must continue to take the steps necessary to protect our neighbors and give our health care professionals the tools and time they need to meet the demands of this virus,” Walker said. “By working together to mitigate transmission, we have already saved thousands of lives. We must continue to be responsible in our personal actions.”
Pritzker’s mitigation efforts are based off of recommendations from health care professionals and researchers who believe the lifting of the current stay at home order would have sparked a second wave of the outbreak, claiming thousands of lives and exceeding the state’s hospital capacity. The May order will also require individuals to wear a face covering or mask when in a public place where they cannot maintain a six foot social distance, such as at a grocery store.
Additionally, the executive order enables state parks and golf courses to begin a phased re-opening, while garden centers and animal grooming services will be allowed to reopen with social distancing requirements in place. Certain businesses will be able to fulfill telephone and online orders through curbside pickup and delivery, while essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face coverings to employees unable to maintain six feet of social distancing. The Illinois Department of Public Health will also soon issue guidance to surgical centers and hospitals to allow for some elective surgeries for non-life threatening conditions.
“I’m glad that the governor is working with stakeholders and health care professionals for a more nuanced approach to deal with this crisis,” Walker said. “There will be more decisions ahead, and I look forward to working with local community leaders to make sure we are heard and we take the right steps to protect us all.”
More information on resources and the state’s response to COVID-19 can be found at coronavirus.illinois.gov. Residents interested in making a homemade face covering can review ideas put forward by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.