Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced in a news conference on Tuesday the complete shutdown of Illinois casinos. The decision comes in the wake of a surge in the COVID-19 virus cases during the past week.
Said Pritzker during the briefing:
“The simple fact is that COVID-19 is spreading quickly and widely. Our hospitals are beginning to experience real strain, and at the current infection rate they will be overwhelmed.”
Pritzker added that the effort would “pause a number of indoor activities where science shows us this virus can can easily spread.” He hopes that the measures will help bend the state’s current coronavirus curve without having to enforce a stay-at-home order for its constituents.
The shutdown follows the actions of Michigan after Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered the state’s three commercial casinos closed for three weeks beginning Tuesday to curb the spread of the pandemic. Unlike Michigan’s shutdown, Pritzker didn’t give a timetable as to when the Illinois casinos can reopen. Illinois was one of the first states to shut down its casinos at the height of the pandemic last March Illinois casinos were forced closed on March 15, 2020 and were allowed to reopen on July 1st.
Tier 3 Mitigations
Pritzker’s move puts the state into what he termed as Tier 3 mitigations beginning 12:01 am on Friday. Under the new shutdown, retail establishments are ordered to drop to 25% capacity while groceries and pharmacies are limited to 50% capacity. Gyms car stay open at 25% capacity if masks are worn at all times and locker rooms are closed.
On the other hand, museums, theaters, and Illinois casinos will be completely closed. Impacted by the order are Caesars Entertainment and Penn National Gaming who each have three casinos in the state, Rush Street Gaming and Boy Gaming who each have one Illinois casino, DraftKings which has licensed its name to Casino Queen, and Jumer’s which is in the process of beng sold to Bally’s Corp.
Rise in COVID-19 cases
State Health Officials reported 12,601 probable and new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. That was the 12th straight day where the state had more than 10,000 cases During the past week, Illinois has averaged 12,381 COVID-19 cases per day. Overall, the state has accumulated a total of 597,849 cases since the pandemic began.
97 deaths were also reported on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 10,875. Over the past week, Illinois has been averaging 84 deaths per day which is the highest weekly average since June 2nd. During the height of the pandemic, the average deaths per day in the state was 100 deaths per day.