(The Center Square) – Some local elected officials want local businesses to open safely far sooner than Gov. J.B. Pritzker's reopening plan would allow.
“Everybody’s got a different plan,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday. “The truth is, this is why you need leadership. This is why you need to make sure that we’ve got a plan that works for the regions, that allows regions to move forward or backward if they’re meeting or not meeting the requirements for health.”
Pritzker released his plan to reopen Illinois on Tuesday. Areas around the state responded with their own plans.
The Clark County Board passed a resolution Friday with guidelines to open businesses in the county responsibly. Board member Jim Bolin said the measure was meant to keep Clark County residents safe and allow them to shop in town rather than traveling to nearby Terre Haute, Indiana.
“Our residents are safer to stay in Clark County and get their haircut in Clark County than go to a town of 60,000,” Bolin said.
Bolin said every business that opens is individually responsible for the decision, especially businesses that rely on a state license to operate.
“If you feel unsafe to open your business, absolutely don’t open it,” Bolin said. “If you feel like you’re going to be receiving repercussions from the state because you have a state license and you are scared about that, then, by all means, you need to do what you need to do.”
In Madison County, board members postponed a vote on a plan to reopen.
During debate Friday, Madison County Board member Jamie Goggin said it was beyond time for businesses to be allowed to responsibly reopen.
“It’s just completely overblown to the risk, and to the public, and to force the country into a great depression is out of control, the risk to the average citizen,” he said.
But other board members wanted more deliberation and to have their state’s attorney prepare a lawsuit to sue the state on behalf of businesses. They’ll take the resolution up Tuesday.
National Federation of Independent Business Illinois State Director Mark Grant said he worries county-specific plans that differ from Pritzker's plan could cause liability issues for businesses.
“And the insurance company says ‘no,' the state of Illinois has said ‘x’ even thought county y said this,’ what is that going to do? And then all of sudden you’re hit with something, a claim, that you can’t afford to do,” Grant said.
Steve Rauschenberger with the Technology and Manufacturing Association applauded the counties that were pushing back. He said he doesn’t think the governor’s plan works, but he also questioned a patchwork of reopening plans.
“I really don’t think that inviting a hundred different health departments to try to write economic plans makes sense either,” Rauschenberger said. “The General Assembly needs to assemble and hold hearings on the governor’s plan.”