SPRINGFIELD -(AP)- Illinois families found out Thursday that they’ll be staying home for another month.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended his stay-at-home order from April 30 now through May 30.
In addition, face coverings for anyone older than 2 will be required in public, both indoors and outside if the recommended 6-foot social distance can’t be maintained.
In other modifications, retail stores designated as non-essential businesses may re-open in May to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.
Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirements and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.
State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources, including Fort Massac and Giant City state parks. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted.
The Illinois Department of Public Health will also be issuing guidance to surgi-centers and hospitals to allow for certain elective surgeries for non-life-threatening conditions, starting on May 1. “We are in possibly the most difficult parts of this journey,” Pritzker said. “I know how badly we all want our normal lives back. Believe me, if I could make that happen right now, I would, but this is the part when we have to dig in.”
Experts originally said the number of COVID-19 cases would peak by the second half of April and many predicted the number would be dropping by month’s end. But Pritzker has said the peak won’t come until May, requiring an extension of such efforts to restrict the virus’s spread.
The state public health director reported 1,826 additional cases Thursday, for a total of 36,934. There were 123 more deaths, for a total of 1,689.