CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — After announcing that the federal government has approved Illinois’ disaster declaration — opening the state up for additional emergency funding in the wake of COVID-19 — Governor JB Pritkzer had strong words for people tempted to make light of the Stay-At-Home executive order issued nearly a week ago.
“Right now, hosting a party, crowding by the lake, playing pick-up basketball in a public park — you are spitting in the face of doctors and nurses who are risking everything to ensure you can survive,” Pritzker said during Thursday’s briefing. “We are quite literally in a battle to save your life.”
Pritzker’s remarks came hours after Chicago’s Lakefront, 606 and Riverwalk were shutdown Thursdayafter pleasant weather drew crowds in those areas.
“To be very clear, this virus doesn’t care that you’re bored and want to hang out with your friends,” he said, minutes after the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 673 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, brining the state’s total case number to 2,538.
Given the economic impact that the shutdown of many businesses and organizations across the state has had on Illinoisans, Pritzker said his administration joined the United Way of Illinois and other state agencies in creating a $22 million COVID-19 Response Fund.
The fund will provide emergency food, basic supplies, offer interim housing and shelter to those who need it and expand primary care access to the underinsured, officials said in the briefing.
Officials said the fund would “complement” the work of the Illinois Department of Human Services.
A steering committee will choose organizations for the first round of fund distribution “in the coming days,” officials said.
All funds will be disbursed to Illinois nonprofit organizations serving individuals, families and communities with emergency needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those in need of support can check https://www.ilcovidresponsefund.org/ for updates on which organizations are receiving support and may be able to extend assistance.