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Addressing the video during his COVID-19 briefing Sunday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said the partygoers seen in the video “violated not only the intention of the order that we put out but also violated the trust of friends and family.”
“I have not seen the video though I did hear about it,” Pritzker said. “First, I want to remind everyone that by doing that, by standing together, not social distancing, many people not wearing masks, you’re literally putting everyone around you in danger. They are putting you in danger and, very importantly, all of those people are putting their families and their friends who are not there with them in danger.”
A Facebook Live shared by one attendee, Tink Purcell, recorded from the upstairs showed people standing should-to-shoulder packing the first floor of the home while drinking and singing along to the music. Some, but not all, of the partygoers were wearing masks, but all broke the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance to remain at least six feet apart.
The video acquired more than 1.4 million views and more than 60,000 shares by Sunday afternoon, WGN-TV reported.
The Chicago Police Department said it hasn't been able to track down the location of the gathering but did break up several other parties over the weekend that violated social distancing measures.
“We are aware of a video circulating on social media depicting a large house party inside of an alleged Chicago residence,” Chicago Police Communications & News Affairs tweeted Sunday. “While we cannot authenticate the nature or location of the gathering, we want to remind everyone of the social distancing requirements in place.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, said on Twitter Sunday that what she saw on the video was “reckless and utterly unacceptable.”
“I know this is a very difficult time for Chicagoans, but there is a reason we are asking you to stay home and socially distance: it saves lives,” she continued. “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. I am asking everyone to be in this together.”
The mayor said Chicago residents can anonymously submit a tip about house parties at cpdtip.com and the police department will shut them down immediately.
“The fewer people who comply with the 'Stay At Home' Order, the sicker our residents will get and the harder it will be for us to recover,” she added.
The governor said officials have largely chosen to “allow people to self-enforce, to do the right thing" amid the stay-at-home order.
For those who repeatedly violate social distancing measures, he said he would allow officers to charge them “with reckless conduct and take them into custody, though again, we have discouraged police from doing that because we believe that people will, in general, follow the rules,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Last week, Pritzker extended the statewide stay-at-home order until May, announcing Illinois would drastically increase its testing capacity, allowing anyone who was symptomatic to be tested for COVID-19, the Tribune reported.
In part due to the increase in testing, Illinois confirmed its record daily spike in new infections Friday after more than 2,700 were identified within a 24-hour period.
Illinois has the fourth-most coronavirus cases in the nation, recording at least 43,903 confirmed infections by Monday, according to statistics gathered by Johns Hopkins University. It ranked fifth in fatalities, with at least 1,933 coronavirus-related deaths.