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Mayor threatens party-goers with arrest as virus toll mount

May 3, 2020 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is warning decisive actions will be taken against city residents who flout Illinois’ stay-a-home order issued to fight the spread of the coronavirus by holding house parties.

Lightfoot made the comment on a West Side street corner near where officials said a party was planned Saturday night. Chicago police say they broke up several such parties across the city on Friday night and learned several were planned Saturday.

``The time for educating people into compliance is over,” Lightfoot said. ``Don’t make us treat you like a criminal, but if you act like a criminal and you violate the law and you refuse to do what is necessary to save lives in this city in the middle of a pandemic, we will take you to jail, period.”

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Lightfoot’s comments came after Illinois health officials announced Saturday the state’s pandemic death toll rose to 2,559 and its infection total was 58,505.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order went into March 21. Both Pritzker and Lightfoot have acknowledged that warming temperatures could test people’s resolve to maintain social distancing.