Lori Lightfoot threatens party-goers with arrest as coronavirus toll mounts

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Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

Mayor Lori Lightfoot answers a reporter's question during a news conference to provide an update to the latest efforts by the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team in Chicago on Monday, April 20, 2020.

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.”

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.