By MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(CHICAGO) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new restrictions for city residents as Thanksgiving approaches and COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
Starting on Monday, Chicagoans are urged to stay home except for work, school or essential needs and to avoid nonessential travel. They are also advised to not gather with anyone outside of their household, including for Thanksgiving.
“While this is tough, and of course this whole year has been tough, we must tell you, you must cancel the normal Thanksgiving plans,” Lightfoot said at a press briefing Thursday. “Particularly if they include guests that do not live in your immediate household.”
The stay-at-home advisory, which will last for 30 days, follows a curfew that went into effect last month that indefinitely closes nonessential businesses from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Indoor service at restaurants and bars has also been halted.
The advisory is in response to exponential COVID-19 spread throughout Chicago. One month ago, the average daily cases in the city was 500, and the positivity rate was just over 5%, the mayor said. On Thursday, Chicago had an average of 1,920 daily new cases and a positivity rate of just over 14%, according to city data.
The mayor warned the city could see another 1,000 Chicagoans die from COVID-19 by the end of the year, on top of the 3,152 lives lost due to the virus thus far, if “we do not step up and do the things we know actually work.”
“This is a time when we all must take this seriously,” she said. “We all have to step up and do our part.”
Among the additional restrictions announced Thursday, the city is also imposing a new capacity limit of 10 people at venues for special events, including weddings and funerals.
The mayor warned that the city will fine and, if necessary, shutter businesses that don’t comply with the COVID-19 orders.
City officials stressed that they are primarily seeing COVID-19 spread through gatherings, especially ones in people’s homes.
“Right now, while we’re seeing numbers like this, gathering is the biggest concern, because COVID is just looking for an opportunity, and right now, unfortunately, it has so many opportunities all over this city,” Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Thursday.
The advisory comes a day after the state’s health department advised that residents “stay home as much as possible” and work from home if they can for the next three weeks, as Illinois reported a record number of daily new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
“Our goal is to reduce transmission as we head into the holidays so businesses and schools can remain open,” the department said.
Illinois and Chicago join a chorus of state and local leaders nationwide urging residents to stay home and issuing new restrictions amid worsening COVID-19 statistics.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency Sunday and issued a mask mandate as hospitals in the state reached capacity. On Wednesday, a judge in El Paso County, Texas, extended a lockdown through Dec. 1 amid high hospitalization rates, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced new restrictions on gatherings and a stronger mask mandate as daily cases continue to break records in the state.
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