NOTE: Stream the governor’s announcement live at 9:30 a.m. CST in the player above

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to make an announcement Friday morning on new coronavirus guidelines in the state, according to his public schedule.

The governor is set to join industry leaders to “announce new guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” his office said.

The announcement is set to take place at 9:30 a.m. in Chicago. (Watch live in the player above)

It remains unclear what exactly the governor will announce, though he has been traveling across the state in recent days encouraging residents to wear masks as cases across the state continue to rise. It is expected his Friday announcement will center on masks.

A source told NBC 5 the governor will file with a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to provide local authorities with enforcement options for masks.

Earlier this week, the governor indicated he had asked the committee to “consider a rule that would impose fines when people are not requiring masks to be worn.”

“They didn’t want to do that,” he said. “They wanted to consider legislation and then didn’t bring up that legislation. So we are certainly considering what rule we could put in place that JCAR would approve.”

Pritzker announced a new $5 million public awareness campaign on Monday with the tagline “It only works if you wear it,” to encourage residents to wear face coverings. The initiative compares masks to seat belts in cars, bicycle helmets, life jackets and more in their life-saving capabilities.

When asked his thoughts on imposing fines against people who do not wear masks in public – akin to tickets for those who don’t wear seat belts while in a moving vehicles – Pritzker said he believed it’s worth considering fines, but at the local level.

“The first thing is to ask them, remind people, it’s often the case people have it in their pocket,” he continued. “They have it with them or they have one at home and they’ve just forgotten. And it’s time for them to remember now that they need to wear it.”

But Pritzker pointed to the people willfully disregarding the mandate as those who may need to have consequences imposed.

“People who refuse to wear a mask, people who are entering public premises where they know they’re supposed to wear a mask and who have been reminded, and who aren’t – those people certainly should be, you know, reminded again by police and ultimately, if they’re absolutely refusing in public, they’re putting other people at risk. So it’s worthy of considering fine at a local level,” he said.

Pritzker added that the same principle held true for businesses like bars and restaurants, among others, calling it “very difficult for many owners” to enforce the mask mandate without having some form of authority, be it public health officials or police, assist in reminding or warning patrons.

“I’ve said from the very beginning, the best thing for us to do is simply to remind people, this is going to keep you healthy and your family healthy,” Pritzker continued, noting that the reinforcement had worked for “the vast majority of people in Illinois.”

During his coronavirus press briefing Wednesday, Pritzker issued warnings about a pair of worrying trends developing in the state as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

“The largest increases in cases are occurring among young people, especially between the ages of 20 and 29,” Pritzker said. “Second, the percentage of the population contracting COVID-19 outside of the Chicago region has dramatically increased.”

On Thursday, Illinois reported its highest number of daily cases in recent weeks.

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state saw 1,953 new cases in 24 hours, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began to 188,424.

The number is the highest daily case increase since May 24, which saw more than 2,500 new cases in a single day. That date also reported significantly fewer test results, however.


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