Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker dodged questions Monday about his family plans for the upcoming holiday, claiming he was unaware of Chicago’s latest stay-home orders.
When asked during a press conference whether he’d be in Illinois on Thanksgiving next week, Pritzker left it an open question.
“I don’t know what my plans will be, but I’ll certainly be happy to share,” he said.
When a reporter followed up on another story about the governor’s wife and family already have gone to Florida, Pritzker dismissed it.
“I think you already know we have a place in Florida. So yeah,” said the Illinois governor whose family also reportedly evaded springtime restrictions by hanging out on his equestrian farms in Wisconsin and the Sunshine state.
“Actually, I don’t think there was a travel ban, but it was a discouragement,” he told reporters.
Ouch! After telling Illinoisans to stay home for Thanksgiving @GovPritzker may leave!
— Amy Jacobson (@AmyJacobson) November 16, 2020
Chicago and the surrounding suburbs went under stricter lockdowns Monday that will persist for the next 30 days, well past Thanksgiving. Residents are being ordered to avoid travel and gatherings with individuals outside their own home.
Pritzker himself has asked residents to keep gatherings “small and virtual, maintaining six feet of distance from others and wearing a mask,” indoors or out.
“We all need to celebrate a bit differently,” Pritzker said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who gets her hair done in salons she shut down because she goes on television, was more blunt.
“You must cancel the normal Thanksgiving plan,” Lightfoot said last week.
Pritzker’s Illinois Department of Public Health also ordered similar recommendations last week requesting residents to stay home except for “essential activities,” though the rules are non-mandatory. Pritzker threatened that a mandatory stay-home order could arrive in the coming days “if things don’t take a turn.”
Single-day novel cases reached a new high in Illinois last week reaching more than 15,000 on Friday alone, an 87 percent increase over the prior 14 days. Deaths are also rising, with 191 deaths reported Thursday. Although cases are rising to the highest infection rates seen throughout the entire pandemic, deaths remain far lower on average than its deadliest days in May as shown in the chart from the New York Times coronavirus tracker below illustrating Illinois case and death data.