FILE - Gov. J.B. Pritzker, 8-17-20

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.

(The Center Square) – It has been nearly a week since bars and restaurants in Will and Kankakee counties were required to halt indoor services after the governor imposed new COVID-19 restrictions and both Democrats and Republicans have raised concerns that the actions weren't necessary.

Before the limitations were put in place, State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said the data he reviewed doesn’t correlate with there being a need for more restrictions.

“According to the data that I have, hospitals and doctor visits are moving in the right direction,” Batinick said.

It’s not just Republicans that are critical. State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, said the mitigations don’t make sense.

“We have to have a more comprehensive plan rather than shutting things down, open things up, shutting things down, open things up,” Kifowit said. “That doesn’t make sense and it's not good for our economy and overall it’s not good policy”

Kifowit said she wasn’t notified of the governor’s unilateral actions beforehand. She also agreed with Republicans who were critical that outbreak numbers from Stateville Prison or long-term care facilities may skew their region’s status.

“I believe that those nuances need to be taking into account with these sweeping policies such as shutting everything down might not be the best method for our communities,” she said.

Both decried mitigations Region 7 south of Chicago more strict than the Metro East St. Louis.

Kifowit stopped short of demanding public hearings on the issue.

Batinick said it’s beyond time for public hearings to get answers.

“Congress has figured out a way to meet, we should be meeting to,” Batinick said. “I’ve been saying that for months.”

Democratic legislators haven’t called COVID-19 subject matter committee hearings to oversee the Pritzker administration's actions all pandemic.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said there could be more mitigations put on Region 4 soon if the positivity rate does not decline.

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.