Gov. J.B. Pritzker today ordered all Illinois bars and restaurants to close for in-person dining starting Monday as the number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases in the state rose to 93 — up by 29 in the past 24 hours.

Pritzker said restaurants could remain open for delivery and curbside pickup. The closure will be in effect from the close of business Monday through Monday, March 30.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said people should assume “the coronavirus is circulating in your community, and you should take the same precautions when interacting with other people that you would when interacting with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.”

“This may seem like an extreme step, but this is how we reduce the number of new cases and prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed,” she added.

The number of confirmed cases in the state has been doubling roughly every two days for more than a week.

The IDPH says social distancing measures, such as working from home when possible, limiting time spent in the community and avoiding public transportation as much as possible, will help reduce the number of people who become sick at any given time and the possibility of exhausting the state’s health care resources.

More information about plans for responding to the coronavirus emergency is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For general questions about COVID-19, persons can call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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