Illinois tops list for harshest COVID-19 restrictions in America

Illinois tops list for harshest COVID-19 restrictions in America

Illinois was ranked as the most restrictive state in the U.S. in a survey of COVID-19 actions that impact everyday life.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has done more to restrict everyday life in Illinois than any other leader in the nation, according to a survey of COVID-19 control measures by WalletHub.

The report comes as Illinois marks two months of lockdown, growing rebellion and efforts to clamp down on defiant small businesses and police departments.

According to the WalletHub report, Illinois has the most restrictive lockdown in America, ranking 51st with Washington, D.C., included. New York ranked 41st; New York City alone has more than 200,000 cases compared to half of that for all of Illinois.

The study used weighted metrics to compare restrictions. It observed mask requirements, travel restrictions, gathering restrictions, school and restaurant closures, the ability for non-essential businesses and child care to open, exceptions to the stay-at-home order, if the state had agreements with other states, availability of elective medical procedures and if the state legislature had been suspended.

Illinois scored at the bottom of those metrics. Rhode Island was ranked the second-most restrictive, while South Dakota was the least restrictive.

Neighboring states were far less restrictive than Illinois. Wisconsin was No. 2 in the nation for the least restrictive after the state’s Supreme Court lifted their stay-at-home order. Missouri was fourth, Iowa 10th and Indiana was 16th.

Indiana began reopening at the beginning of May and moved on to Stage 3 of their reopening plan on May 22, ahead of schedule. Indiana plans to fully reopen the state by July 4, with cases trending down since the end of April.

Illinois was among the first states in the nation to implement at stay-at-home order. California put one in place on March 19, while Illinois followed on March 21. New York, considered to be the global epicenter of the pandemic for a time, put its order into effect on March 22. Since then, both New York and California have lifted restrictions more than Illinois.

The restrictions do not appear to have stopped Illinois from having a high death rate, WalletHub’s data indicates. Illinois, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., were all clustered as having both the nation’s most restrictive rules and some of the highest death rates in the U.S.

As nearly every other state moves forward and begins to balance daily life and the economy with containing COVID-19, Illinois is getting left behind. Pritzker had said he was coordinating a regional effort to reopen states in a similar way, but they seem to have moved on without him.

Illinois residents need a clear picture as to how and when the state plans to get back to work. Other states have shown life can move on with caution, and Pritzker should commit to a plan that balances public health and economic recovery.

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