City and state are ‘a long way away’ from lifting stay-at-home order: Lightfoot

Although progress has been made and the rate of new coronavirus cases is slowing, Lightfoot said: “We’re not near the peak. So, I don’t want to raise false expectations that it’s coming sometime soon.”

SHARE City and state are ‘a long way away’ from lifting stay-at-home order: Lightfoot
Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a press conference at City Hall Tuesday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a press conference at City Hall before signing an executive orderTuesday to ensure coronavirus-related benefits offered by the city of Chicago are available to immigrants and refugees,

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Chicago and Illinois are “a long way away” from lifting the stay-at-home order because the number of coronavirus cases in Chicago and Illinois is “not near the peak,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order was due to expire Tuesday before being extended until April 30. Lightfoot had already extended the closing of Chicago Public Schools through April 20 before that extension.

On Tuesday, the mayor was asked to articulate the criteria that would be used by the city and state to determine when shuttered non-essential businesses would be authorized to reopen and when residents would be free to leave their homes, return to work and once again enjoy the everyday freedoms they once took for granted.

“We’re a long way away from that, and we are actually exploring that question now. We’ve been talking all along about a peak in the number of cases and then, thinking about what the downward slide of that will be. We are looking at when we think now we will reach that point,” she said.

“We went from seeing cases double every one to two days. Now we’re in the nine- to 10-day range, which is obviously progress. But we’re not near the peak. So I don’t want to raise false expectations that it’s coming sometime soon. We don’t know that based upon the modeling that we’ve seen. But we’re closely looking at that and looking at, what would be the way in which we would come out of a stay-at-home order.”

As temperatures rise to the mid-70s and spring fever lures stir-crazy Chicagoans out of their homes, Lightfoot drove home the stay-at-home message that forced her to close the lakefront and all of its parks, beaches, running paths and bike trails.

Chicago police are poised to enforce the mayor’s unprecedented order — with dispersal orders, citations and, if necessary, arrests.

“This is a moment we live for in Chicago. We weather the winter. And the first rays of sunshine and warming weather, we embrace it with gusto. Unfortunately, in this time, we cannot. We have to practice the same stay-at-home social distancing that has …. moved us from a doubling of cases [every] one to two days in March to where we are now. We’ve made that progress because people have complied,” she said.

“The issue isn’t going outside or getting a walk or exercise or walking the dog. It’s congregating. That is the problem. We want people to stay distant from each other.”

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