MARSHALL, Ill. (WTHI) - A special meeting, open to the public, was held Friday afternoon in Marshall, Illinois. The Clark County board voted 6 to 1 in favor of reopening the county and allowing citizens to return to work. This is under recommended guidelines by Clark County but against the Governor's orders.
News 10 spoke with Clark County board member Jim Bolin and citizens of Clark County to gauge their reaction.
"We're not telling people to open up and we're not saying this that or the other," Bolin explained, "We're just giving the citizens of our county the support to open up if they want to and if they feel safe to."
Bolin says this resolution is for unincorporated areas of Clark County. This is not required, it is simply a plan given by the county to give businesses the option to open if they choose.
Recommendations for retail businesses, restaurants, and other places include wearing masks, taking temperatures daily, maintaining social distance, and allowing only 50% capacity.
Bolin and other members of the public expressed why they feel this is the right course of action for their county.
Hundreds gathered outside the Clark County courthouse in support of reopening the county. Members of the public, like Stephanie Scott, gave their reasons for support. She's a teacher for Casey-Westfield Schools. She says the public making decisions, and not just one person, is part of our constitution.
"We've got to contact our representatives, contact our board, and contact those people who help check and balance who we have in power in Illinois," Scott explained, "In Clark County, we have zero deaths at this point in time. It's killing our businesses. I think it's a good idea to responsibly reopen."
Bolin says they aren't trying to "beat up" Governor Pritzker and his decisions. This course of action simply makes sense for their county's lower and more spread out population.
"I personally don't feel like it's us against them or anything like that," Bolin said, "For our county and the number of people we have in it--we're suffering and we need to get our people back to work and do it safely."
Bolin says the guidelines set forth will allow those in Clark County to reopen only if they choose to, do it safely, and with a quicker time frame. While it may go against Governor Pritzker's recommendation, he says this is the right move for Clark County and the people that he and the board represent.
"All I know is what our people and our county is telling us what they would like to do and that's who we represent," Bolin concluded, "We have the common sense to keep ourselves sheltered if we have underlying health problems but we just need to open up."
Each city within Clark County has the choice to support the county's resolution or stick with the State of Illinois' guidelines. For instance, there will be a support vote at Marshall's City Council meeting this upcoming Monday. We'll bring you their decision and any further updates as soon as we learn more.