Hartford, CT – The governors of Illinois and Connecticut both announced on Friday afternoon that their states were shutting down all non-essential businesses and all residents are ordered to stay home.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont told reporters his state was testing 1,000 potential coronavirus cases a day, and that so far, they had found 194 infections.
Lamont said that four people have died in Fairfield County and 40 others remain hospitalized statewide.
“So I’m here to announce yet another step up in our efforts to enforce social distancing,” he said. “We call our policy ‘Stay Safe, Stay at Home’ and we are working in conjunction with our regional governors.”
Lamont cited the similar steps California and New York had taken in the past 24 hours and he was firm in his instructions to the residents of Connecticut.
“Don’t open your retail store unless you’re involved in some essential service,” Lamont said. “I want to see all the rest of those non-essential services closed – closed for at least a few weeks or for the foreseeable future.”
He said healthcare, financial services, banking, food supply, public transportation, and childcare-related businesses were allowed to stay open, but that every other kind of business needed to shut down 100 percent.
“We are telling you – those retail stores that are not essential – do not open,” Lamont said sternly. “It’s the most important thing we can do to reduce demand and have beds available in our hospitals.”
The governor said 500 retired nurses in the Medical Reserve Corps had made themselves available to assist in the coming days.
Lamont also said a generous philanthropist had donated millions of dollars so the state can open up 26 childcare facilities to serve children of first responders.
He said each facility will have space to care for 30 children.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a similar “stay at home” order for the entire state of Illinois starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Pritzker said emergency order is in place through April 7 and that residents may only leave their homes to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, or to take a walk.
“For the vast majority of you already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much,” the governor said.
He also extended the statewide school cancellation until after the “stay at home” order had been lifted, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Pritzker ordered all non-essential businesses to close but said bars and restaurants would be permitted to stay open to offer carry out and delivery, WAND reported.
The governor explained that the Illinois National Guard he activated earlier in the week would not be enforcing the “stay at home” order.
He said the 60 members deployed would be helping set up drive-thru coronavirus testing sites, helping prepare hospitals, and delivering food to shut-ins, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Both governors encouraged residents to get fresh air and perhaps take walks but to avoid interacting with other people and practice extreme social distancing while outside their homes.