8/7/20, Covid-19 update
Proposed guidelines to require businesses to enforce mask requirements, still need to be approved by the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which is up oncoming Tuesday in Springfield.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide masking mandate May 1, but the new rules would give local health and police departments more options — including fines up to $2,500 — to enforce it, without revoking a business’ license.
In an effort to slow the rise in Illinois coronavirus cases, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday announced a new set of proposed rules that would offer local officials more leeway to mete out warning and reprimands — possibly leading to fines — for businesses that run afoul of the state’s public masking and social distancing guidelines.
Pritzker issued a statewide masking mandate May 1, but the new rules would give local health and police departments more options to enforce it without revoking a business’ license.
“These rules are a common sense way to enforce mask requirements without jumping immediately to the extremely tough consequences that exist on the books today,” Pritzker said.
Under the rules — which don’t apply to individuals — businesses would be given a written notice if they’re not complying with state guidelines.
If they don’t shape up, an order would be issued “to have some or all of their patrons leave the premises as needed to comply with public health guidance and reduce risks,” according to Pritzker’s office.
And if they’re still not complying, a business could face a misdemeanor charge or fines ranging from $75 to $100.
“This is one way for us to make sure that businesses that have been scofflaws on this subject [to] know that there is a real penalty at the end of the line here,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker’s proposed rules still need to be approved by the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. They’re up for consideration Tuesday in Springfield.
“I can’t tell you the political breakdown of how people will come down on whether we should wear masks or not, but I am confident that that a majority of people in the state of Illinois, a vast majority, want us to have enforcement mechanisms and want us to make sure that people are wearing face coverings,” Pritzker said.
The Democratic governor has previously said he didn’t want to take a heavy-handed approach with enforcement of masking guidelines. More stringent masking ideas were floated back in May and met with strong resistance by pro-business groups.
Pritzker’s guidelines comes a day after public health officials announced Illinois’ largest coronavirus caseload in over 10 weeks, with 1,953 more people testing positive for COVID-19 across the state.
That jump comes a week after Illinois logged 1,941 cases, which had been the highest since more than 2,500 cases were reported May 24 when the state was coming down from its initial pandemic peak.
But since Illinois cases fell to a valley in mid-June, a deluge of outbreaks among young people has fueled a steady COVID-19 rise that has the state on the verge of a full-blown resurgence, experts say.
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