Peoria mayor says he has a plan to reopen the city

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Mayor Jim Ardis said he has his own plan to reopen the City of Peoria and has been in talks with Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

At the daily Tri-County area COVID-19 press conference Friday, the mayor said he plans on bringing forward a plan in the near future that would slowly reopen more businesses in the city’s limits. Ardis said Pritzker told him “he would be very anxious to have a look at that and consider it.”

“I’m very hopeful that it would be sooner than the end of this month,” Ardis said.

He acknowledged that many are on-edge about the extended stay-at-home order and said this proposal would comply with concerns the governor has.

“We are going to bring forward something that I think is going to comply with the concerns that the governor has for opening the economy up in a safe way, not putting a lot more pressure on the health department and the medical communities, and getting this area back in business,” Ardis said.

This comes after East Peoria mayor John Kahl said he was following through with opening more businesses, including gyms and hair salons, beginning Friday.

Earlier this week, officials from across the Tri-County area, without Ardis, came together to create a comprehensive plan to reopen businesses in phases and submitted it to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Kahl said he sent the plan to Pritzker Wednesday. It includes signatures from 20 other elected officials in the area, as well as Fulton County, including those of Dunlap, Canton, Pekin, Bartonville, Mackinaw, Chillicothe, Morton, Tremont and more.

The group thanked Pritzker for his leadership and keeping people healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but stressed the “devastating financial impact to the local municipalities.”

During each phase of the proposed plan, local governments would continue to monitor the status of its impact in coordination with the local health departments and other local organizations.

Also on Friday, Peoria County state’s attorney Jodi Hoos reminded the community that both Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell and Peoria Police Department Chief Loren Marion are fully complying with Pritzker’s extended order for as long as it is in effect. She also said she believes state’s attorneys should be enforcing Pritzker’s order.

“I know as a citizen, I want my state’s attorney to follow the law, whether that state’s attorney likes the law, or agrees with it,” Hoos said. “I think that our role is not to pick-and-choose what laws we follow, but follow the ones we have in place.”

This comes in response to Woodford County state’s attorney Greg Minger saying earlier this week that he will refuse to prosecute violators of the governor’s extended order.

As of Friday, there are 149 total cases reported in the Tri-County area; there are 95 in Peoria, 41 in Tazewell, and 13 in Woodford. Specifically in Peoria, 44 have fully recovered, according to the Peoria City/County Health Department.

To read more on the Tri-County phased reopening proposal, click here.

Watch the full press conference below.

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