BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on local restaurants, but some eateries in Bloomington are receiving support from a state leader.

“The first word that comes to mind when describing the economic impact this virus and the mitigations have had on this business is devastating,” said Joe’s Pub Co-Owner Joe Wargo.

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Illinois would be going back to Tier 3 mitigations, bar and restaurant owners were left with few options, and some decided to close their doors.

“60 people are out of work at Christmas time,” said Rob Dob’s Owner Bob Dobski. ” They can’t pay bills can’t get those tips in there and that’s what they were counting on. I don’t even think the governor thinks about people like that.”

Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) said he regularly talks with business owners in the area. He hasn’t been on board with the decisions made by the governor neither.

“I think democracy is failing the people of this state as a result of the way in which the governor has executed these unilateral orders against the state and against the people of our state,” said Barickman.

Barickman was in town Tuesday to defend why he thinks these orders were unfair.

He said since March, Pritzker has issued more than 70 executive orders in response to COVID-19. These are decisions he said should not be made by one person.

“We have a legislative process that allows for public hearings, for input from the public, for transparency, and the public has come to rely on that process and to know whether they agree or disagree with it at least they had an opportunity to be heard,” said Barickman.

Barickman hopes in the future more people can be involved when implementing executive orders.

“We walk around the state you talk to people I talk to my constituents every day, the number one issue that’s facing them is the effect these orders are having on their lives,” said Barickman.

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