Bars and Restaurants in Illinois Ordered to Close Monday Night, March 16, 2020 through Monday March 30, 2020; Drive-Thru and Pick-Up May Operate

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s ordered Sunday afternoon March 15, 2020 that all bars and restaurants in Illinois must close to dine-in customers from the end of business Monday night, March 16, 2020 through March 30, 2020. Sunday’s order followed concerns about failure of the Coronavirus COVID-19 mitigation method of Social Distancing working practically if establishments were to remain open. During Saturday’s coronavirus update Gov. Pritzker referred to adverse conditions observed with crowds out and about on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

“There are no easy decisions left to make as we address this unprecedented crisis. As your governor I can’t allow the gravity of these decisions from taking the measures that the science and the experts say will keep people safe.”

— Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker

As expected, Pritzker made the bar and restaurant announcement during the coronavirus briefing on the latest status of COVID-19 cases in Illinois on Sunday afternoon, March 15, 2020. Twenty-nine new cases were announced, bringing Sunday’s total to 93.

The latest announcement regarding bars and restaurants superseded a local Chicago restriction announced Sunday morning that establishments could only host half of their regular maximum capacity and no more than 100 customers.

“I tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgement to stay home, to avoid bars, not to congregate in crowds. It’s unfortunate that many people didn’t take that seriously. The time for persuasion and public appeals is over. The time for action is here.”

— Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker

Drive-through and pickup services at restaurants will be permitted. State officials are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services to make sure restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open, according to Gov. Pritzker.

Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) President Sam Toia said they understand such measures are necessary to protect the health and safety of customers and employees. At the press conference, Toia said the safety of customers and team members is the priority of restaurant owners. Toia said the IRA would be lobbying on behalf of the industry to determine whether bars and restaurants can get relief if they are forced to close operations.

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