Officials: Don’t let guard down against COVID over holiday  

Officials: Don’t let guard down against COVID over holiday  

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and health officials are urging businesses and residents to comply with public health measures over the holiday weekend, warning that precautions must continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Pritzker noted Friday that states across the U.S. are seeing a spike in the number of new cases of the coronavirus.  He says “Letting our guard down now would fly in the face of the progress we’ve made over many months.”

The day after Judge Michael McHaney ruled in Clay County Court that the Governor had exceeded his authority in extending mandates after the first 30 days of the coronavirus, Pritzker said he won’t hesitate to close down businesses that don’t abide by capacity requirements, and he encouraged people to avoid large crowds and wear face coverings.  The impact of Thursday’s court ruling wasn’t immediately clear as the governor’s office maintains other courts have upheld his orders and no injunction was included in the Clay County case barring enforcement of the Governor’s mandates.

Ahead of the July 4th weekend, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and the Illinois Gaming Board have sent communications to local authorities and business owners encouraging them to follow public health guidance and outlining enforcement actions that can take place if they don’t.

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission has directed its commissioners to use their legal authority to issue cease and desist warnings — and, if necessary, orders — based on Phase 4 safety requirements.   The Act allows commissioners to issue a written order temporarily ceasing a liquor license and immediately closing the licensed premises without a hearing, for up to 7 days, if the establishment is operating in violation of the law by threatening the welfare of the community. During this 7-day period, a licensed liquor establishment is given the opportunity to be heard and to come into compliance.

The Illinois Gaming Board has communicated with all video gaming locations, terminal operators and casinos in the state to remind them of the consequences of failing to comply with health and safety requirements, which includes consequences up to and including license revocation.

In a news release, the Governor says for the small minority of business owners who have chosen to put themselves and others at risk, the Illinois State Police has worked closely with local law enforcement as well as state regulatory agencies like the Liquor Control Commission and the Illinois Gaming Board on an incremental approach, beginning with education and warnings, with potential fines and suspension or revocation of licenses in cases of repeated and egregious violations.