Peoria City Council considers resolution in support of small businesses

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — In Peoria, local businesses have been forced to close, but large retailers that sell similar products are open and have been deemed essential.

On Tuesday, Peoria City Council will vote on a resolution in support of small businesses.

The resolution says allowing big brand retail stores to stay open while local stores that sell similar items are closed is inconsistent and gives large stores an advantage.

If passed, the resolution will be sent to the Governor’s office and Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Council member at large John Kelly says both large and local stores are able to enforce CDC and health department guidelines. He thinks both customers and business owners can take precautions to stay safe.

“They can do it. They can do the same thing. They can have hand sanitizer for people to use, they can require people to wear masks, they can certainly require employees to wear masks. I don’t know that there’s anything that these larger stores are doing about the pandemic that these smaller stores cannot do,” said Kelly.

Council member Kelly also adds closing local businesses affects Peorians and capital in the area.

“If you have hundreds and hundreds of people going broke around town, that has an impact. That hollows out Peoria and diminishes the creativity and the enterprise of so many people. Not just owners, but employees as well,” said Kelly.

Councilmember Kelly mentions one local business that was temporarily forced to close was Bushwhacker. Now, the bike shop part of the store is open as bikes are considered essential.

Other parts of the store are roped off and products are available online only.

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