(The Center Square) – Opposition to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s extended stay-at-home order and his reopening plan continues to mount.
Across the state, local governments are sounding off in opposition to the governor's plans that have had the state “all in” from a full economy for two full months in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The state’s economy has been on partial lockdown since March 16 when Pritzker issued an executive order prohibiting dine-in restaurants amid COVID-19 concerns. That was followed by a stay-at-home order that closed other businesses he deemed nonessential through April 7.
But before that end date, the governor extended the order through the end of April, and again through the end of May. He’s since unveiled a five-phase reopening plan with different regions of the state that could have more things opened up in 28-day intervals.
Business partially opened in Madison County on Wednesday after the county board passed a resolution with its own phased-opening plan that differs from the governor’s plan.
The governor this week said he would consider withholding federal funds to areas that defy his orders. Madison County Board member Chris Guy said the governor was playing “a game of poker.”
“That would be really vindictive of the governor to do that to 260,000 people in Madison County, the eighth largest county in the state of Illinois,” Guy told WMAY radio in Springfield. “I think it’s time for him to wake up and listen to the county board.”
There’s no resolution to reopen in Springfield, but alderman debated the stay-at-home orders this week. Some said it’s time to open things back up because there is hospital capacity. Others disagreed. Alderwoman Doris Turner said she feels for those who’ve lost their jobs or businesses, but she said: “You also have to think about the loss of human life.”
“And that is something that we cannot get back,” Turner said.
In Peoria, the city passed a resolution urging the governor to change his plan. At-large City Council member John Kelly said they’re not at a fever pitch yet, but they’re petitioning to have a sub-region in the governor’s plan. He said small retailers haven’t been allowed to compete with big-box stores for two months.
“By the time this is over, many of them I suspect will have gone out of business for what I consider to be a bureaucratic oversight or perhaps a bureaucratic overreach,” Kelly said.
In Edgar County, officials are preparing their own guidelines for businesses amid the pandemic.
In McHenry County, all 25 local mayors are asking that the county be removed from the governor’s Northeast region of his reopening plan. That region includes Chicago and Cook County, which has a much higher percentage of COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalizations.
Other counties lumped in that region are petitioning to be removed as well. It’s likely the Northeast region’s reopening will be delayed under the governor’s plan.
Some state’s attorneys and sheriffs in other counties have said they won’t enforce the governor’s orders in their jurisdictions.
There are also lawsuits across the state against the governor’s orders from state lawmakers, restaurants and salons.