CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday ordered all bars and restaurants in the state to close starting Monday night, March 16 through March 30.
Pritzker's action came in reaction to the crowds that filled restaurants and bars around the state on Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Earlier Sunday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked businesses that sell alcohol to reduce their capacity by more than half or not allow more than 100 people at a time.
Pritzker said he had tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone's good judgment to stay home, to avoid bars, not to congregate in crowds. He added that it is unfortunate that many people didn't take that seriously.
"The time for persuasion and public appeals is over," he said. "This is not a joke. No one is immune to this."
Sam Toia, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association President, said he's working with state and local officials to help restaurants and their employees during the two-week shutdown.
"We want to protect the health of our customers and our team numbers," he said.
Toia said the organization will keep advocating for economic relief for restaurant employees and small businesses.