Chicago authorities warned of hefty fines and even arrests for those who don’t comply with the state’s stay-at-home mandate.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced more aggressive enforcement Thursday after huge crowds were seen outside soaking up the warm weather in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a blatant violation of Gov. [J.B.] Prtizker’s stay-at-home order,” Lightfoot said during a news conference.
“Your conduct, yours, is posing a direct threat to our public health,” she went on, “and without question, your continued failure to abide by these lifesaving orders will erase any progress that we have made over the past week in slowing the spread of this disease and could lead to more deaths.”
Chicagoans continuing to flout the lockdown could face a $500 fine or arrest, Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck warned.
The city on Thursday closed down popular public spaces, including its lakefront and other popular recreational trails.
Lightfoot promised that the Chicago Police Department would be “aggressively ramping up patrols” moving forward.
Illinois is currently one of the worst-hit states, reporting 2,538 confirmed coronaviruses cases and 26 deaths.
Lightfoot desperately pleaded with residents to stay inside. The city fears the virus could lead to the hospitalization of 40,000 residents who would need acute medical care in the coming weeks — creating a “catastrophically” grim scenario, Lightfoot said.
“That number will break our healthcare system,” she said.