In a state which has become the epicenter of the nationwide coronavirus surge, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is implementing tighter guidelines to protect her city. The mayor announced the new restrictions on Thursday, issuing a more stern stay-at-home advisory and urging residents to cancel Thanksgiving plans with extended family, Forbes reported.

The stay-at-home advisory, which will begin on Monday, is expected to last for at least 30 days. Residents are asked to only leave home for essential activities such as going to school or work, seeking medical care and shopping for groceries. Out-of-state travel is also restricted at this time.

“We’re asking you to avoid any non essential travel. And if you must travel, then you must either quarantine for 14 days, or depending upon the state confirm a negative COVID test before coming back,” Lightfoot said, according to CBSN Chicago.

Meetings and social events, including holiday gatherings, will be limited to 10 people under the newly-implemented guidelines. 

"You must cancel the normal Thanksgiving plans, particularly if they include guests that do not live in your immediate household," the mayor said. 

She added that a majority of the coronavirus spread is happening in homes when people let their guard down while gathering with friends and family.

"We have to stop and reverse this trend in order to save lives,” Lightfoot said. “Every family needs to come up with their own COVID protection plan and stick to it.”

Chicago will also continue with its restrictions for eating and drinking venues, keeping indoor dining closed and imposing curfews on non-essential businesses. 

"We will be ramping up our enforcement," the 56th mayor of Chicago said. "I want to add this point, loud and clear. Please follow the rules. We want you to be able to stay open. But if you do not follow the rules, we will take swift and immediate action.”

Lightfoot particularly expressed concern about retail stores.

"What I’ve seen in some retailers is parking lots that are absolutely jammed with cars. And yet, no lines at the entrance," she said. "What I’ve told my team is that, in those circumstances, we are going to be extraordinarily diligent and make sure that everyone is playing by the rules.”  

Gov. J.B. Pritzker described the mayor's guidelines as “a model for action for the rest of the state.”

“I want to commend the mayor’s decision, because it’s never an easy one to make, but it’s the right one,” Pritzker said.

According to The New York Times, Illinois experienced one of its worst days on Thursday, totaling at least 50 new COVID-19 deaths and 12,788 new cases. The state has seen an average of 11,762 cases per day in the past week. That's an increase of 126% compared to the average from two weeks ago. Illinois has recorded a total of at least 537,860 cases and 10,855 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The outbreak has been rapidly spreading throughout the midwest in recent weeks. According to NBC5 Chicago, 25,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin on Wednesday.  

Chicago could see at least 1,000 additional coronavirus deaths by the end of the year if the current rate continues, NBC5 Chicago reported

“Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that we undertake this multi-faceted and comprehensive effort to stop the virus in its tracks,” Lightfoot said. 

According to NBC News, more than 200,000 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in the U.S. As of Friday, the country has totaled more than 10 million cases.