ILLINOIS — Despite threats from Gov. J.B. Pritzker that Illinois State Police would be deployed to enforce his COVID-19 orders, the state’s 1,900-officer agency didn’t issue any citations issued over the weekend.
“They have done that,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday in Peoria when asked if there’s been any enforcement. “[ISP] can’t get everywhere but where we know we’ve got scofflaws, where we know we’ve got bars and restaurants that are putting the public in danger, we have asked state police to go to those areas.”
He said ISP can issue a dispersal order, a warning and then a citation that can be taken up by a county state’s attorney.
A spokesperson for the Illinois State Police said it continues to work with local health and law enforcement officials when requested and there were no citations referencing COVID-19 over the weekend.
State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, said even though some local sheriffs and state’s attorneys may not enforce the governor’s orders, the Pritzker administration can still take liquor and gaming licenses away from non-compliant businesses.
“Our business owners have once again been put into a very difficult position where they’re having to choose between their livelihoods and complying with a mitigation plan that is apparently not based in fact,” Schimpf said.
Pritzker has said he’s been reluctant to take that step of taking away licenses.
On the other end of the state, state Sen. Don DeWitte, R-St. Charles, said at least six businesses said they are closing permanently. Nearly a third of businesses in his district say they’ll defy the governor’s orders.
“And they see that purely as a survival decision to try to keep some revenue coming into their establishments,” DeWitte said.
With the threats of sending Illinois State Police to enforce his orders, DeWitte said Pritzker is jeopardizing not just the futures of businesses, but his own political standing.
“I believe the governor is taking very grave steps that will not only damage his status in business but politically I believe that he is cutting his throat in implementing these harsh measures,” DeWitte said.
Other lawmakers across the state are demanding the Pritzker administration release contact tracing data that justifies a blanket prohibition of indoor service at bars and restaurants.
Beginning Wednesday, six of the state’s 11 regions laid out in the governor’s COVID-19 plan will have added restrictions in place prohibiting indoor service at bars and restaurants, along with limits on public and private gatherings to 25 or fewer.
The Center Square – Greg Bishop