Pritzker To Repeal Emergency Rule Making Business Reopenings A Misdemeanor

ILLINOIS — After legislators were bombarded with phone calls opposing an emergency rule filed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker that made it a misdemeanor for businesses to reopen ahead of the governor’s reopening plan, public health officials said Wednesday the rule would be repealed.

Pritzker’s Illinois Department of Public Health filed the emergency rule late Friday. The rule said any person who violates the stay-at-home order to keep certain businesses closed would be subject to a Class A misdemeanor. It would have applied to restaurants that allow dine-in service, nonessential retailers that go beyond curbside sales, and salons and gyms that reopen. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Pritzker downplayed the significance of the rule. He said it was a less punitive measure than revoking a business license.

The Joint Commission on Administrative Rules got confirmation Wednesday from Illinois Department of Public Health officials that the rule was going to be repealed.

Before Wednesday’s JCAR meeting, the governor said he expects to issue modified emergency rules to go along with his plan to phase in reopening sectors of the economy.

“The rule that we’ve put in place, an emergency rule, only would last until the end of this phase, Phase 2. That’s about 10 more days,” Pritzker said. “And then in Phase 3, a new rule would need to be issued. So that’s the way it would work. It’s not something that would last five months.”

The governor’s stay-at-home order runs through May 30, but his reopening plan doesn’t get to a full reopening unless there’s a vaccine or a highly effective therapy for COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. The disease has caused at least 92,138 deaths in the U.S., with more than 1.53 million confirmed cases in the country as of Wednesday.

The Center Square – Greg Bishop


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