Illinois Governor: No End In Sight For Masks, Social Distancing

"State of the Union." Screenshot/CNN

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Sunday that citizens in his state could be wearing face masks indefinitely.

Pritzker spoke with CNN’s Jake Tapper about the next steps for the state of Illinois and when people could expect things to go back to normal. (RELATED: Illinois Governor Still Blaming Trump For GOP Governors Slow To Enact Stay-At-Home Orders)


Pritzker began by explaining the ongoing efforts in Illinois to implement a dramatic increase in testing as well as contact tracing, saying that he had been largely going it alone.

“I have not been counting on the White House, because there have been too many situations in which they’ve made promises not delivered. Very recently they promised a lot of swabs. They’re supposed to arrive today, the first shipment of those. I’m looking forward to that,” he said.

But then Tapper turned the conversation to recent confusion over Pritzker’s plan to reopen, from warnings that students may still be engaging in distance learning in the fall to reports that churches would not be allowed to hold regular services until a vaccine was available.

“So there’s some confusion about what your goal is in terms of reopening. The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board published an editorial about your reopening plan, they write, quote, ‘he’s being more than just cautious, he’s moved the goalposts. Governor Pritzker’s stated goal was to get the outbreak under control, not eradicate Covid-19 completely. We don’t want his pursuit of the perfect outcome to unnecessarily delay the restarting of activities,'” Tapper read. “What’s your reaction to that, and what is your end goal for Illinois to go back to some semblance of normal?”

Pritzker responded by saying that the plan was already underway, noting that restaurants and bars in Illinois would likely remain closed for some time.

“Phase IV is just the phase before we would have a vaccine, assuming we maybe never get a vaccine, we’ll have to deal with hopefully a treatment that will come along that will be very effective, but even without that, everyone’s going to have to wear a mask,” he explained. “We’re still going to have to socially distance. The truth is that Coronavirus is still out there.”

“It hasn’t gone anywhere. And so we all are going to have to change the way we do things until we’re able to eradicate it. If the Chicago Tribune thinks everything will go back to complete normal without us having an effective treatment or a vaccine, they’re just dead wrong,” Pritzker concluded.