Pritzker rule would fine business that violate mask order

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday that public health officials may issue fines to Illinois businesses where employees or patrons aren’t wearing face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Posted: Aug 7, 2020 5:24 PM
Updated: Aug 8, 2020 6:41 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday that public health officials may issue fines to Illinois businesses where employees or patrons aren’t wearing face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Pritzker said the emergency rules he filed focus on “scofflaw” businesses who flout the requirement since May 1 that people in public who are unable to keep 6 feet away from others must wear masks. Enforcement begins with warnings and can result in fines of $75 to $2,500.

Since a reduction in infections in June prompted Pritzker to re-open businesses and allow for larger groups — up to 50 — to gather, the highly contagious and sometimes-fatal virus has been on a summerlong rebound.

“It’s clear that there is still an even greater need to get people to wear masks, especially to protect frontline workers, whether they’re (associates) at the front of the store asking you to put on your mask, whether they’re (rescue workers) responding to 911 calls to save those in distress,” Pritzker said.

Enforcement begins with a warning letter that the business is not complying with social restrictions. A second warning could mean reducing the number of patrons in an establishment to meet maximum crowd guidelines. A third violation could mean a fine. But Pritzker says it’s preferable to current law, in which the lone enforcement mechanism for violations is license revocation.

Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants’ Association, called the initiative “a slap in the face” to retailers who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic” while it’s reckless individual behavior that fuels it.

“If the goal is to put public health above politics, the administration will amend the rule to focus enforcement efforts on individuals who are not complying instead of punishing and attempting to demonize innocent businesses,” Karr said.

The Democrat’s announcement in Chicago came the same day that Illinois reported 2,084 new cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the highly contagious and sometimes-fatal coronavirus. It’s the first time since May 24 that the number has topped 2,000.

The illness has now claimed more than 7,600 lives among more than 190,000 infections of people, most of whom have recovered but who could suffer long-lasting effects. And the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday that 13 counties are on COVID-19 “warning level” status, meaning unchecked surges in virus transmission could result in greater social restrictions.

Pritzker’s rule requires approval by the bicameral, bipartisan Joint Committee of Administrative Rules, the group of lawmakers who couldn’t reach a decision on Pritzker’s May attempt to establish enforcement for violating safety guidelines.

Rep. Jim Durkin, the Western Springs Republican who is minority leader of the Illinois House, said Pritzker should dump his “mask rule” and offer the issue for legislative debate.

“I am committed to respecting his priorities while recognizing the undue hardship his current rule places on businesses that are already struggling across Illinois,” Durkin said.

Durkin has previously issued unheeded calls for special sessions to debate how the economy and state would be re-opened and released from social restrictions and to take up long-delayed ethics reforms after a federal deal in which ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine to settle a Statehouse bribery claim, announced last month, implicated Chicago Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. He has not been charged with wrongdoing. Durkin again sought an ethics debate in Friday’s announcement.

Pritzker also signed a measure into law adding penalties to those who assault retail workers who are asking patrons to abide by safety guidelines. The law also provides 60 days of additional disability leave to some state and local government employees such as correctional officers and firefighters for those whose recovery was slowed by COVID-19.

___

Terre Haute
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 62°
Robinson
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 55°
Indianapolis
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 60°
Rockville
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 60°
Casey
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 62°
Brazil
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 62°
Marshall
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 62°
Partly cloudy & breezy night
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Saturday Evening Forecast

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Barr-Reeve vs Loogootee 9-25-20 ITZ

Image

Harrison vs Vin Lin ITZ 9-25-20

Image

West Washington vs North Central ITZ 9-25-20

Image

Riverton Parke vs Cloverdale ITZ 9-25-20

Image

Linton vs North Daviess ITZ 9-25-20

Image

Indy Lutheran vs Northview ITZ 9-25-20

Image

OV vs Sullivan ITZ 9-25-20

Image

SP vs WV ITZ 9-25-20

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 286332

Reported Deaths: 8807
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1422155194
DuPage17253557
Lake16733487
Will13803378
Kane12974326
St. Clair6487189
Winnebago5750149
Madison5565136
Champaign458320
McHenry4536118
Peoria341349
McLean324522
Rock Island293575
Kankakee270977
Unassigned2538244
Sangamon236744
Kendall197525
Tazewell169822
LaSalle168256
DeKalb155138
Macon148744
Coles143730
Williamson138344
Jackson125724
Clinton112920
Boone109523
Adams108210
Randolph93311
Effingham8581
Whiteside72620
Vermilion7184
Ogle6746
Grundy6595
Henry6565
Monroe65215
Morgan64723
Knox6403
Bureau62511
Jefferson58738
Macoupin5357
Marion5320
Christian52111
Franklin5203
Union51424
Stephenson5106
McDonough47515
Logan4591
Crawford4293
Woodford4216
Fayette4023
Cass39311
Jersey38915
Shelby3724
Livingston3716
Montgomery36213
Iroquois36119
Lee3601
Perry34515
Warren3272
Saline3194
Bond3135
Douglas3037
Wayne2695
Jo Daviess2572
Lawrence2522
Carroll2284
Greene21910
Moultrie2133
Cumberland2115
Hancock2063
Jasper2069
Richland2045
Washington2041
Pulaski1731
White1670
Fulton1620
Clark1582
Johnson1530
Wabash1501
Clay1490
Mason1401
Mercer1375
Piatt1370
Menard1241
Pike1231
Edgar1138
De Witt1121
Massac1072
Marshall1010
Ford1005
Scott770
Alexander761
Gallatin712
Hamilton680
Henderson660
Edwards640
Calhoun580
Putnam570
Brown560
Stark552
Schuyler490
Hardin390
Pope271
Out of IL40

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 115407

Reported Deaths: 3566
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21196765
Lake10493323
Elkhart6528110
St. Joseph6392106
Allen6178202
Hamilton4848109
Vanderburgh360930
Hendricks2715123
Monroe256036
Tippecanoe239113
Johnson2305123
Clark221457
Porter213647
Delaware194262
Cass19419
Vigo182526
Madison164375
LaPorte142340
Floyd135862
Howard130563
Warrick128038
Kosciusko121617
Bartholomew116457
Marshall100824
Dubois96919
Boone96846
Hancock92143
Grant91934
Noble90832
Henry79826
Wayne75414
Jackson7499
Morgan71638
Shelby67229
Daviess66328
Dearborn66028
LaGrange63411
Clinton59914
Harrison57624
Putnam56412
Knox5159
Gibson5114
Lawrence51129
Montgomery50821
White48514
DeKalb47611
Decatur45839
Miami4353
Greene42435
Fayette42113
Jasper3942
Steuben3807
Scott37311
Sullivan33712
Posey3240
Jennings31312
Franklin30725
Clay3005
Ripley2968
Orange28824
Carroll27413
Whitley2707
Washington2651
Wabash2648
Starke2637
Adams2613
Wells2614
Jefferson2483
Spencer2413
Fulton2382
Huntington2363
Tipton22622
Perry22113
Randolph2167
Jay1800
Newton17311
Owen1681
Martin1640
Rush1554
Pike1471
Vermillion1280
Fountain1232
Blackford1193
Pulaski1131
Crawford1050
Brown1043
Parke962
Benton880
Ohio787
Union780
Switzerland690
Warren391
Unassigned0226