by WorldTribune Staff, May 10, 2020
While most other states are in various phases of reopening amid the coronavirus crisis, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has essentially banned the reopening of schools, barbershops, salons, gyms, bars and restaurants and other “non-essential” businesses until there is either a vaccine, herd immunity, or an “effectively and widely available treatment.”
“Assuming maybe we never get a vaccine, we’re going to have to deal with hopefully a treatment that will come along that will be very effective,” Pritzker, a Democrat, said. “Even without that, everyone will have to wear a mask. We’re still going to have to socially distance.”
Amid criticism from the Chicago Tribune, Pritzker defended his plan, saying the state will be unable to return to normal “until we’re able to eradicate it.”
“The truth is coronavirus is still out there. It hasn’t gone anywhere,” Pritzker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “So we all are going to have to change the way we do things until we’re able to eradicate it.”
In a staff editorial, the Chicago Tribune called the governor’s plan “cautious in the extreme,”
“Actually, he’s being more than just cautious. He has moved the goal posts,” said the editorial. “Pritzker’s latest plan extends the benchmarks for victory from bending the infection curve to defeating the virus altogether.”
Pritzker responded, saying, “If the Chicago Tribune thinks we can go back to completely normal without us having a very effective treatment or vaccine, they’re just dead wrong.”
The governor has also come under fire from Republican legislators who have accused him of governing via emergency executive orders and not involving the state legislature.
Pritzker said that new hospitalizations in Illinois have flattened and the state ranks second among the 10 most populous states in testing and recently exceeded 20,000 coronavirus tests per day.
“We put in a mask order that everybody across the state has to wear a face covering when they’re in public,” said Pritzker. “So, we have done a lot to make sure that we’re keeping these numbers moving in the right direction. And we will not reopen unless we meet all of the standards that I have set for doing so.”