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Gov. J.B. Pritzker expected to lower capacity for retail shops and shut down casinos in latest effort to slow COVID-19 surge

Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Chicago Tribune
by DAN PETRELLA, JAMIE MUNKS GREGORY PRATT

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to announce targeted restrictions for retail shops and a shutdown of casinos in the state’s latest effort to slow the surging coronavirus, sources told the Tribune.

Just ahead of the busiest shopping season of the year, most retailers would be under a 25% capacity limit, down from the current 50%, sources said. A 50% capacity limit would remain for grocery stores.

In addition to casinos, video gambling terminals statewide would be shut down under the plan.

The new measures would take effect at midnight Friday, according to a source familiar with the plan.

The measures stop short of a full-blown return to a stay-at-home order like the one Pritzker issued in March, something he suggested in recent days could be in the offing. Details of the latest changes are expected at a 2:30 p.m. briefing.

Outdoor dining, elective surgeries, and salon and spa services that allow for a mask to be worn all will be allowed to continue, according to the source familiar with the plan.

Decisions on whether to continue in-person instruction at schools will be left up to local districts, sources said.

State health officials reported 12,601 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus, the 12th straight day with more than 10,000 cases. Over the past week, Illinois has been averaging 12,381 cases per day. In all, there have been 597,849 cases statewide since the pandemic began.

There also were 97 additional fatalities reported Tuesday, bringing the statewide death toll to 10,875. The state has been averaging 84 deaths per day over the past week, the highest total since June 2. At the height of the first in early to mid-May, the state averaged more than 100 deaths per day.

dpetrella@chicagotribune.com

gpratt@chicagotribune.com



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