Pritzker calls on local officials to institute more COVID-19 mandates in Illinois | Illinois

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(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker called on Illinois municipalities Monday to follow Chicago’s lead by putting more COVID-19 mandates on businesses and customers.

Beginning Jan. 3, Cook County will require businesses to require proof of vaccination for customers age 5 and older at indoor settings where food and drink are served. Those 16 and older will have to show proof of vaccination in indoor entertainment settings and fitness centers.

“I hope that people across the state will take an example and look at what will work in their community, because just saying that you are going to look at vaccine cards may not work in one place or another, so you got to know your community and get it right in your community,” Pritzker said during a COVID-19 update Monday.

One suburban government leader has called such mandates unlawful.

“If this is such an emergency, why are they waiting until January 3 to impose these new mandates?” Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said in a statement. “Cook County is taking unlawful measures by mandating these requirements be enforced and followed. There is a process in place that lawmakers must legally follow to enforce mandates like this, but instead, they prefer to overreach and play politics. Orland Park will continue to do what’s best for our residents rather than playing politics.”

Pritzker urged Illinoisans to get vaccinated and boosted as coronavirus cases rise. He said Illinois’ free community-based testing sites will begin operating six days a week starting Jan. 3.

Earlier in the day during a meeting with the country’s governors, President Joe Biden said the federal government is going to help with testing.

“I know the lines have gotten very long in some states,” Biden said. “That’s why I ordered FEMA to set up pop-up sites in places with high demand to shorten the wait.”

Pritzker said some governors said the 500 million at-home tests Biden offered wouldn’t be enough.

“Some of us governors have said privately or publicly that it is not enough because if there are 300 million Americans – 330 million or so – and even if you said only half will test, you know, that’s not very many tests,” Pritzker said. “And we know that in many work circumstances it is important for people to test repeatedly.”

Since Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health has reported 55,959 new COVID-19 cases in the state.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike urged people to take additional precautions if they are planning to attend New Year’s Eve parties to reduce the potential spread of the virus.

“Let’s be clear, every single event being held during this holiday season will have one or two uninvited unwanted guests: Delta and/or omicron,” Ezike said.

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Caleb Alexander

Caleb Alexander

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