Daily Journal

Gov. J.B. Pritzker faced questioning during Monday’s press briefing about an emergency rule filed by his administration Friday to allow the state to levy Class A Misdemeanor charges against any business or entity defying Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.

Such a charge is punishable by a fine from $75 to $2,500. Pritzker said that’s a cheaper alternative than revocation of a license and a gentler measure than an IDPH closure order.

The emergency rules filed Friday codify that those disobeying the stay-at-home order are subject to existing IDPH enforcement measures.

“Under that existing law, law enforcement can issue a citation to the business,” Pritzker said. “An emergency rule requiring businesses to follow the existing stay-at-home order has now been put in place. This additional enforcement tool, this citation causes less harm to a business than a total shutdown or loss of a license, but gives local governments and law enforcement the ability to do their job.”

Republicans, however, called the threat of fines an overreach and an insult to business owners already reeling financially from the pandemic.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, said in an earlier video conference Monday that the move could be stricken down in court, similar to a worker’s compensation emergency rule filed amid the pandemic.

“I think the governor and his handlers need to understand that there is a growing dissatisfaction with members of the General Assembly and the public of the governor trying to play not only the executive role but also the legislative role,” he said.

Pritzker said “nothing’s changed” in how the state will enforce the stay-at-home measure, and “Our first and best option for enforcement is what we’ve all been doing, relying on Illinoisans to be good neighbors and good citizens, working together to keep each other safe.”

Pritzker said he is also concerned about a resurgence of the virus as more people venture farther from their homes.

— Capitol News Illinois

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