Shutdown fever has gripped America amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as the states of California, New York, and now Illinois have all issued a stay-at-home order in an effort to “flatten the curve” to prevent a healthcare system collapse.
On Friday, just hours after New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued his stay-at-home order for the state, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) mandated that all non-essential businesses close while people maintain social distancing. According to Fox 32 in Chicago, the order is set to take effect on Saturday at 5 P.M. and will continue through April 7. As has been the case nationwide, people will still be permitted to buy groceries, exercise outdoors, and get food delivered.
“If there are actions that I can take that will save lives in the midst of this pandemic, no matter how difficult, then I have an obligation,” Pritzker said, adding that the move will prevent “potentially tens of thousands” of deaths.
“For the vast majority of you already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much,” he said.
The state of Illinois had already ordered the shutdown of schools statewide through the end of March.
Hours before Pritzker issued the mandate, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all state residents to stay home while closing down all non-essential businesses. The announcement comes as coronavirus cases in New York surged from 2,950 to 7,102 overnight.
“When I talk about the most drastic action we can take, this is the most drastic action we can take,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany, as reported by CNBC. “This is not life as usual. Accept it. Realize it and deal with it.”
“I believe these policies will save lives,” he later said.
Cuomo’s order came just one day after California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that all state residents stay home, mandating that non-essential businesses close up shop for the time being.
“We’re not victims of circumstance, we can make decisions to meet moments, and this is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said. “This is a moment where we need some straight talk and we need to tell people the truth.”
“We need to the bend the curve in the state of California, and in order to do that we need to recognize the reality,” Newsom continued. “The fact is, the experience we are having on the ground throughout the state of California, the experience that is manifesting all across the United States, and for that matter, around the rest of the world, requires us to adjust our thinking and to adjust our activities.”
Following Newsom’s order, Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, issued an even more restrictive measure.
“The Los Angeles County order requires all indoor malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and nonessential retail businesses to close and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people in enclosed spaces,” The Los Angeles Times reported. “The city of Los Angeles order is much more restrictive. It requires all nonessential businesses to close, with companies able to operate only through work-at-home arrangements. The order also bans all public gatherings of any size outside homes.”
In London, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered that all cafes, pubs, and gyms close to better halt the spread of the pandemic.