Thursday stands to be a pivotal point in the process of easing the government-mandated restrictions enacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
As the day began, word spread Gov. J.B. Pritzker finally has announced plans to open greater access to restaurants statewide by allowing outdoor seating. While full service, including indoor seating, has yet to be resumed, the move was seen as a lifeline by some eatery owners, who are among those most crippled by the crisis.
You can say the move didn’t come a moment too soon, but many would argue it’s a tardy maneuver that should have been made weeks ago. It’s fair to say those of this mindset were well represented when some 300 people gathered on the Kankakee County Courthouse lawn Thursday afternoon to protest Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, which now has been in place for more than two months.
They protested the controlling ways of government and how it has stripped them of their basic freedoms. While the largely mask-less crowd was mostly well behaved, some flashes of anger were apparent. There was also mention of the fear people have faced during this pandemic.
Restless might be a good way to describe the crowd. People’s patience has worn thin, and fear and anger can make for a combustible combination. This simmering mixture seems to be on the verge of exploding.
While we urge people to maintain their composure amid this frustration, we also urge the governor to constantly review his five-phase plan for reopening the state.
He already has done this with the addition of outdoor seating at restaurants, something that wasn’t part of the original plan’s Phase 3. There are surely some parts of Phase 4 and Phase 5 that can be similarly altered. Get them addressed and prepared for enactment.