A video of people at a crowded house party posted to social media over the weekend caused many people to clutch their pearls and condemn the strangers' behavior. The video, which began on Facebook live and then made the jump to every other social media platform, depicts a fairly typical house party with lots of attendees listening to music, dancing, and drinking adult beverages. Evidence showed that the party took place somewhere in Chicago, and the revelers were not following social distancing guidelines, according to the party critics.
As US #Covid_19 cases near the 1 million mark. Scores of people went to a tightly packed house party overnight in Chicago, defying #StayHome orders. Party goers can be heard saying get off LIVE before the police come. To no benefit in that type of method at least some wore masks pic.twitter.com/rTA9q9IdxE— News & Covid-19 (@CoronavirusUSA0) April 26, 2020
In Illinois, where the party allegedly took place, Democratic Gov. Pritzker chose to extend a state-wide stay-at-home order until the end of May, further mandating that all citizens wear masks in public settings. Provisions under the extended order include a phased re-opening of public parks and lakes, though not more than two persons would be allowed in a boat at one time, including families that live together.
Citizens of the state have balked at the prolonged shut downs, citing economic crises and infringement upon civil liberties. One Illinois state representative is suing the governor for violating his gubernatorial power by extending the stay-at-home order across the state.
"I’m not advocating full open. We use common sense,” said Rep. Bailey, who filed the lawsuit. "We are in our office receiving tons of calls. Many, many destitute families have been 4-4.5 weeks without a paycheck."
Bailey advocates for regional consideration, noting that many parts of the state are in much better shape than the region's largest cities, like Chicago. Pritzker, however, threatened police intervention if citizens do not comply with the extended order.
"If they refuse and if they repeatedly refuse, there is the ability by the police officers to charge them with reckless conduct and take them into custody," said Gov. Pritzker on Sunday. "Though again, we have discouraged police from doing that because we believe that people will, in general, follow the rules."
After more than six weeks of quarantine and isolation, order-defying public gatherings and protests have ramped up, demanding a return to normalcy. As many states have begun to ease public outing restrictions and put shuttered storefronts back in business, restricted residents in un-liberated areas are clamoring for more freedom. Pritzker chided the participants in the video as not just being lawbreakers, but also violating the trust of their friends and families – by attending a weekend party with friends.
"I would suggest that all of those people violated not only the intention of the order that we put out but also violated the trust of friends and family."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot condemned the viral partygoers from this weekend as "reckless" lawbreakers, not trapped citizens who could be dealing with economic devastation. Almost 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits amid the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
"I have seen the video which shows what appears to be a house party taking place inside a Chicago residence,” the Democratic mayor said in a tweet. “What was depicted on the video was reckless and utterly unacceptable."
While most Chicagoans are doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, reckless actions like these threaten our public health and risk erasing the progress we have made. We will hold those responsible accountable.— Mayor Lightfoot #StayHomeSaveLives (@chicagosmayor) April 26, 2020
I am asking everyone to be in this together.
Lightfoot then urged Chicagoans to report on those suspected of attending a residential house party by contacting the city tip line.
"CPD [Chicago Police Department] will shut them down immediately," the mayor promised. The CPD twitter account seconded Lightfoot's threat to partying residents, saying those found in violation would be cited and even arrested for failure to follow orders. The police department also said that they are investigating the party video but have not been able to confirm details of the timing or location.
(2/2) CPD will disperse crowds in violation of social distancing requirements, and if necessary, issue citations or as a last resort, enforce via arrest. - Asst. Dir. Luis Agostini, CPD Office of Communications & News Affairs— Chicago Police Communications & News Affairs (@CPD_Media) April 26, 2020
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