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Pritzker weighs options on lifting or extending stay-at-home order

Pritzker weighs options on lifting or extending stay-at-home order

'You need widespread testing' to return to normalcy, governor says

By BEN ORNER
Capitol News Illinois
borner@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD Gov. JB Pritzker hinted during his Monday briefing that he and his team are mulling a gradual return to normalcy, saying that “it's likely that there will be adjustments to the orders that we've put in place.”

“We want to lift these orders as soon as we can. We want to get things back to normal as soon as we can,” the governor said. He stressed, however, that doctors and scientists will need to weigh in and that “it's not like we're anywhere near” herd immunity or a treatment for COVID-19.

Pritzker said that every day he and his team look at the numbers and ask about the direction the curves of cases and deaths are headed. Although “the curve seems to be leveling,” Pritzker said, “we haven’t gotten there yet.”

“In order for you to get to a point where you want to start moving significantly back to normalcy, you need widespread testing,” he said, as well as a contact tracing system that identifies infected people and notifies who they came in contact with.

Pritzker added that widespread testing has yet to happen anywhere in the U.S., especially Illinois, where the state has yet to meet its testing goal of 10,000 per day.

Pritzker also stressed that he has yet to come to a decision on whether to lift or extend the stay-at-home order when it ends April 30, but in a hypothetical first phase of opening up the state, he would be asking questions such as, “What rules do you have to put in place?” “Does everybody wear a mask,” and “What are the rules for each industry?”

“A manufacturer is very different than a clothing store,” he said.

Pritzker asked rhetorically whether occupancy for each store should be based on square footage, like how fire marshals set maximum occupancies.

“Do we now need to have a public health administrator determining how many people at any given time can be in a certain store for us to reopen those stores?” he asked.

Pritzker added that he has been talking with industry leaders on how to protect health and safety while also getting businesses back open.

Pritzker also addressed a Monday tweet from President Donald Trump in which he said the “decision to open up the states” is “the decision of the president” and not of the individual states that issued their individual orders.

“I think he's going to issue some advice about it. But it is true that it's up to the governors to make decisions about the executive orders that we've put in place,” Pritzker said.

Legal experts have also pointed out that Trump’s claim runs contrary to the 10th Amendment, which says that powers not specifically given to the federal government are reserved for the states. Those powers include policing citizens and regulating public welfare, which stay-at-home orders do.

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