Gov. Pritzker rolls out phased re-opening plan, local leaders pushing back

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Local leaders and state lawmakers criticize Gov. J.B. Prtizker’s phased re-opening plan. While the plan’s goal is to restore Illinois local leaders said its timeline may be unbearable for some businesses and employees.

Mayor Gary Manier of Washington said the plan is a good start, but he is disappointed with the time frame. He suggests shortening the time frame between each phase. Currently, our region is in phase two. The earliest the region can move forward into phase three is May 29. Phase three permits barbershops, retailers and offices to open.

“I know we don’t want to put anyone in Jeopardy and say let’s hurry up and open and all of a sudden our hospitals open up that’s not what I’m looking for,” Mayor Manier said. “…I think these small businesses are on the verge of another week or two they could close the doors,” Mayor Manier said.

Other local leaders, like Mayor John Kahl of East Peoria, recognized waiting to transition into the next phase could make or break surrounding businesses and since have refused to follow the governor’s instruction and enforcing their own rules.

“I don’t think it is appropriate that each municipality may make their own decisions about re-opening, but we’re leaving communities no choice,” State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) said.

Regions must reach specific criteria, like a lower COVID-19 case positivity rate, in order to move forward. Mayor Manier is worried that the governor based his criteria on what is best for Chicago and not the rest of the state.

“Just not sure the time frame of all the phases fit necessarily downstate Illinois so I’m hoping that we can come to some sort of compromise,” Mayor Manier said.

Mayor Manier suggests the governor shorten the time frame between phases to 14 days. Rep. Spain said local input and regional decision making will positively impact the gradual and responsible re-opening of our economy.

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