CHICAGO (The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced a new way to go after Illinois businesses that open early in defiance of his emergency order to remain closed.
The governor filed an emergency rule which potentially could charge businesses with Class A misdemeanors if they open for business before they are allowed under his five-phase reopening plan. Under state law, the violation is punishable by a fine from $75 to up to $2,500 and would require a court appearance.
During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Pritzker said the violation would not be used to punish individuals.
“This rule can only impact a business and not individuals and is a response to only a select type of violation,” he said. “This can’t be used to regulate individual conduct like not wearing a face covering.”
Previously, the governor indicated that businesses violating the stay-at-home order could face liability issues with insurance companies. He also said his administration would consider revoking state licenses from businesses that opened early, and could also withhold federal funds from counties that did the same.
Pritzker also addressed the data breach on the Illinois Department of Employment Security website over the weekend.
On Sunday, the department confirmed that one claimant was able to access the personal information of a number of other claimants. Pritzker said they are looking into it.
“We are still investigating the number of people who were affected by it,” Pritzker said. “We want to make sure that we get the system completely kind of hack-proof and safe.”
The governor also said he doesn’t know if he is personally profiting from any of the companies owned by the Pritzker Group that offer COVID-19 testing.
“Three years ago when I decided to run for governor, I put all assets in a blind trust form and they continue to be in that form and so I’m not involved, I don’t even know the engagement of those businesses in anything that has to do with this,” Pritzker said. “I’m three years from having had any knowledge about any of those.”
Also on Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,294 new cases COVID-19 in Illinois, including 59 additional deaths.
Statewide, the department has reported a total of 96,485 cases, including 4,234 deaths. Cases have been reported in 100 of the state’s 102 counties.
In the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 21,297 specimens for a total of 603,241 tests. The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate – from May 9-15 – was 14%, the department said.
Reporting by Kevin Bessler and Brett Rowland
The Center Square -- formerly known as Watchdog.org and the Illinois News Network -- and their reporters represent 18 states across the United States as the taxpayers' watchdog, exposing the way government really works.
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