Governor J.B. Pritzker said that schools across the state will stay closed until April 8, extending a statewide closure originally set to go through March 30. 

In a joint press conference with Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday, Pritzker issued a “stay at home” order. From Saturday to April 7, all Illinois residents are asked to stay at home. 

He said the state is currently drafting a plan to provide emergency childcare to health care workers and to provide care in small group settings to mitigate risk. 

Food distribution to low-income students will continue at this time, he said. 

“For our students, your school district will continue to provide you with meals. I wish I could stand up here and tell you when your schools will safely reopen. But, that is not an answer that I have. At this time, we’re postponing our tentative reopening date statewide,“ said Pritzker.

While the “stay at home” order is enacted, residents will still be able to go to the grocery store, pick up medicine at a pharmacy, go to a doctor’s appointment or go for a walk. 

However, businesses and workers who do not perform essential services are asked to work from home. Transit workers, first responders, police officers, grocery store workers, pharmacists, and many more may continue to go work. 

Similar orders have been issued throughout the nation. Oak Park, a western suburb adjacent to Chicago, issued a similar order that took effect on Friday and will end on April 3. 

On Friday, the governor said that there was one more life lost to COVID-19, bringing the total to five. The latest death was a Cook County woman in her 70s. State public health officials are currently reporting a total of 585 cases, an increase of 163 additional confirmed cases from the day prior, in 25 counties across the state.