Pritzker to end Illinois’ emergency orders after more than 3 years

Pritzker to end Illinois’ emergency orders after more than 3 years

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he will follow President Biden and end Illinois’ disaster declarations on May 11. Most states long ago quit using emergency powers, leaving Illinois as 1 of 7 states still claiming COVID-19 is a public health emergency.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he will end over three years of non-stop COVID-19 disaster declarations on May 11 when the national emergency ends.

But that also means until May 11 he intends to keep declaring statewide emergencies as a result of the pandemic. His 38th COVID-19 disaster proclamation will expire in a few days and must be followed by a 39th proclamation for him to extend his emergency powers.

Pritzker has held emergency powers for over 70% of his time in office.

“Let me be clear: COVID-19 has not disappeared. It is still a real and present danger to people with compromised immune systems – and I urge all Illinoisans to get vaccinated or get their booster shots if they have not done so already,” Pritzker said.

None of Illinois’ neighbor states still see the need to declare a statewide emergency and invoke emergency powers to urge people to get vaccinated. Illinois is one of just seven states nationwide still calling the COVID-19 pandemic an emergency, with six of the seven led by Democratic governors.

The White House on Jan. 30 announced the federal COVID-19 disaster declaration will end May 11. During a November debate, Pritzker said the national declaration is why Illinois is still under a COVID-19 emergency.

According to Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, the state is in Phase 5 of COVID-19 recovery, meaning:

“All sectors of the economy reopen with new health and hygiene practices permanently in place. Large gatherings of all sizes can resume. Public health experts focus on lessons learned and building out the public health infrastructure needed to meet and overcome future challenges.”

That doesn’t sound like an emergency.

California is still under a COVID-19 state of emergency, but Gov. Gavin Newsom announced it will end Feb. 28. Georgia is under a state of emergency, but for supply chain disruptions related to COVID – not the virus itself.

The pandemic caused some states to curb their governors’ uses of emergency power rules. Arizona, Louisiana and Virginia all enacted laws in 2022 increasing legislative oversight of executive powers.

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