Following yesterday's recommendation from the Illinois Department of Public Health that residents stay at home as much as possible, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is introducing similar measures in the city with the launch of the Protect Chicago strategy. This includes a stay-at-home advisory, which recommends that Chicagoans treat the next 30 days like the early stages of the pandemic but stops short of mandating it.
Going into effect at 6am on Monday, November 16, the stay-at-home advisory urges Chicagoans to adhere to the following guidelines for the next 30 days in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Stay at home unless you must go out for essential reasons, like work, school, medical visits or to get food
- No guests may be in your home unless they are essential workers (home healthcare providers or childcare workers)
- Avoid any non-essential travel and follow new emergency travel order guidelines
- Cancel traditional Thanksgiving plans with non-household members
Mayor Lightfoot also introduced new guidelines that limit all social events and meetings in Chicago to no more than 10 people, covering hotels, Airbnb rentals, churches and event spaces and including weddings and funerals. She noted that this new recommendation does not supersede industry guidelines already in place for fitness centers, movie theaters, museums and regular church services.
“Here’s the bottom line—and I want people to be very clear on this—if we continue the path we’re on and you, me and others don’t step up and do more, our estimates are that we could see 1,000 more Chicagoans die by the end of the year,” Lightfoot said, laying out the stakes for the next seven weeks in Chicago.
Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady explained that the growth of COVID-19 in Chicago is spiraling out of control, with hospitalizations rising without any sign of slowing. "We are the largest city in the part of the country that is having the most uncontrolled outbreak. Every opportunity that COVID has to spread here is an exponential opportunity," Dr. Arwady said. "It takes very little time for these numbers to get to a point where we do, again, overwhelm hospitals."
Much like the state's recent recommendations, it's unclear if new guidelines that aren't accompanied by enforcement will do much to change the behavior of Chicagoans who are becoming fatigued by the constant threat of COVID. However, it's clear that Chicago is at a critical juncture, with four times as many people being diagnosed with COVID-19 daily as there were one month ago. Doing what you can to keep yourself and others safe is more important than ever before.
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