Illinois governor 'looking hard' at closing bars, restaurants: 'We need to go on lockdown'

Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker (D) said Sunday the state is "looking hard" at the possibility of closing bars and restaurants, suggesting a lockdown may be the next step the state takes as it grapples with the coronavirus outbreak. 

The St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago was shut down and limits have already been placed on gatherings of more than 250 people. 

Despite the limits, many "young people who think they're impervious to this went out and celebrated," Pritzker said on NBC's "Meet the Press." 


"People aren't understanding that, even if you're healthy, even if you're young, that you may be a carrier. And you're going to hand it over to somebody else," Pritzker said.

"COVID-19 is spreading because even healthy people can be walking around, giving it to other people. So we need to go on lockdown."

"So are you going to close bars and restaurants? That is your plan?" host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddGOP Sen. Braun says abortion laws should be left up to states Klobuchar says 'best way' to protect abortion rights is to codify Roe v. Wade into law NIH director says it's 'possible' omicron will not be last emerging variant MORE asked Pritzker. "You sort of contradicted yourself there, saying you were going to keep the size smaller, but then you're making the case to lockdown."


"Well, what I'm telling you is that we've been on the trajectory now and planning for each of these steps because it's not easy. You can imagine each one of these decisions has consequences to them that are not just about the pandemic," Pritzker responded. 

He added that this is a decision also about people's livelihoods. 

"So we're actually looking hard at that decision making today," Pritzker added. "We obviously saw what happened in Europe. Nowhere in the United States really has there been a lockdown on bars and restaurants, but it's something that we're seriously looking at."

Pritzker also said that governors across the country are on their own to make these decisions, adding that the federal government has "fallen down" on its response to the outbreak. 

"We're on our own out here. I wish we had leadership from Washington, we're not getting it," he added. 

As of Saturday, 64 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Illinois, according to the state health department. 

Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation on Monday.