The governor of Illinois on Sunday ordered all bars and restaurants in his state to close amid the threat of the new coronavirus, and officials elsewhere in the country said they were considering similar restrictions after revelers ignored warnings against attending large gatherings.
“The time for persuasion and public appeals is over,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “This is not a joke. No one is immune to this.”
The Democratic governor said he had tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgment to stay home, to avoid bars, and not congregate in crowds. He added that it is unfortunate that many people didn’t take that seriously.
The order takes effect Monday night and will last through March 30.
In New Orleans and Chicago, people clad in green for St. Patrick’s Day packed bars and spilled onto crowded sidewalks on Saturday even after the cities canceled their parades.
“I’m not about to put my life on hold because this is going around,” Kyle Thomas told the Chicago Sun-Times. Thomas, a nurse from Colorado, said he had flown to Chicago to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with friends and thought people might be ”overreacting.”
In New Orleans, Syd Knight, 86, celebrated despite the public health warnings and the higher risk she faced because of her age.
“The Lord will take care of us all,” Knight told The Times-Picayune-New Orleans Advocate.
Oklahoma’s governor tweeted a picture of himself and his children at a crowded metro restaurant Saturday night.
In the since-deleted tweet, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt wrote: “Eating with my kids and all my fellow Oklahomans at the @CollectiveOKC. It’s packed tonight!”
“The governor will continue to take his family out to dinner and to the grocery store without living in fear, and encourages Oklahomans to do the same,” Charlie Hannema, a spokesman for the governor, said in an email.
Health officials have advised people to distance themselves from each other socially. Some states have banned gatherings with more than a certain number of people.
Officials in New Jersey are considering a statewide curfew to help prevent the spread of the virus, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Sunday. One city in the state, Hoboken, has already implemented one — from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. — starting Monday. Additionally, bars and restaurants in Hoboken that serve food can only offer takeout or delivery, and bars without food have to shut down, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla said.