Bars and Restaurants in Peoria at risk of closing again

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) –  Gov. J.B. Pritzker is sending a warning, moments before health officials report the largest single-day case count for the tri-county area since the pandemic began.

In the last 24 hours, 102 people have tested positive for the virus, breaking down to 75 cases in Peoria County, 21 in Tazewell County, and six in Woodford County.

The alarming surge of cases forced the governor to take a trip to Peoria Thursday morning, hoping to warn community members the area is at risk of having bars and restaurants closed down

He said a recent surge of COVID-19 driven by people aged 29 and under is setting the stage for a step backward, saying he doesn’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but if people aren’t following guidelines, restriction is the next logical step.

Under Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan, a region cannot have seven straight days where hospital admissions have increased, or have the positivity rate reach 8%. Region two, which includes Peoria, has seen the rolling positivity rate jump to 4.3%, as well as 3 straight days where hospital admissions have increased.

“If this region has four more days of people getting sicker, and needing a hospital bed, that means bars will close again,” said Pritzker. “As well as, a possible reduction of services at restaurants, and smaller capacity limits on other activities.”

However, he and other elected officials say the solution to this problem is easy. It’s something they’ve been pushing for months.

“People have to learn how to wear a mask,” said State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “You have to put this up over your nose, that’s what it is to be safe. If you sneeze, and it’s on your chin, it doesn’t do anybody any good.”

In addition, State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) said you need to be able to hold your community members accountable if they don’t wear a mask. He says this issue goes beyond party lines, that this is a human health issue.  

“We have gone through a lot as a community, and as a state, and we have begun the process to slowly initiate our economic recovery,” said Spain. “Do not make the mistakes that set us backward, we can’t afford to go backward.”

Although it’s said to wear a mask, there are other things you can do to prevent from getting or giving the virus. You must also remember to practice social distancing, and continuously wash your hands and surfaces.

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