What Does 'Shelter In Place' Mean For You and Your Family?

Mar 21, 2020

Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered Illinois residents to "shelter in place" starting 5 p.m. Saturday through April 7 in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.

It's not a complete lockdown. People will still be able to leave home to go to grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals and doctor appointments, and pharmacies. Public transportation, police and fire services and garbage pickup will still run. Day care services will continue for the families of essential workers. Laundromats and restaurants offering take-out will also stay open. Public benefits like SNAP will still be distributed. Roads will remain open.

Staying at home is required unless the job is classified as an essential business. That includes people working in the industries above, as well as those involved in keeping the supply chains running, such as truck drivers and many manufacturing companies. The governor advises all others to work from home, if possible.

Online-only classes for pre-K through 12 schools will continue. Dine-in restaurants will also remain closed, along with gyms, salons, and other businesses deemed non-essential.

People can still step outside to get fresh air or take a walk or hike.

The governor's executive order allows law enforcement to enforce the stay-at-home order or social distancing mandates barring gatherings of more than 10 people in one place if necessary.

"This does give us in law enforcement some control mechanisms if necessary. But at this point, we don't see that being an issue. We're not going to have 'Checkpoint Charlies' out there stopping people going down the road," Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said. "But again, we're advocating compliance so we don't have issues."

Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson is asking people not to hoard food and supplies.

"We're asking individuals not to buy in bulk. Especially items that are designated WIC-approved," she said, referring to the food assistance program for low-income mothers and their children. "Because a lot of our community can not afford to buy in bulk. And when you do that, you're taking away opportunity and food from those individuals. Let's be equitable in our response. We don't want this virus to show the worst of us."

"We have good reports from our warehouses and our suppliers that will be in stock and have appropriate stock and supply next week," said Grand Prairie Hy-Vee store manager Eric Gharst. "As people continue to seem to panic, we do have a lot of food and great systems in place."

Customers do face restrictions on purchase quantities of some items, like hand sanitizer or toilet paper. The governor's executive order also requires grocery stores and other businesses to maintain separate hours for the elderly and vulnerable populations.

Peoria County Board Chairman Andrew Rand encouraged people in need of assistance in the Tri-County area to call the 211 information hotline.

Heartland Health Services chief medical officer Dr. Gregg Stoner recommends people with pre-existing conditions keep a thermometer, scale, blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter. He said these items cost about $50 total. With the rollout of telemedicine services, he said providing information to a doctor from these medical supplies will help them to better assess a patient's condition remotely.

To date, Hendrickson said there are still only five positive COVID-19 cases in the Tri-County area of Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford. All five patients are in isolation at home recovering. There are 38 negative tests. Twenty-four tests are still pending. Statewide, there are 585 confirmed cases and five reported deaths.

You can read the full executive order here.

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