May 6, 2020
This is a station editorial, I'm Randal J. Miller, station president.
Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker on May 5th, after continuing pressure from downstate legislators and residents, announced a plan he's calling "Restore Illinois" to open up the state by region, based on 6 phases. Each region earning the right to open based on a set of data-based criteria.
While on the surface, it sounds great, his "Restore Illinois" plan has these problems:
Problem 1--he designed only 4 regions in the entire state--northeast, north central, central, and southern. These are HUGE regions with not only LOTS of small communities, but several METRO areas where covid-19 has been more prevelent. This will make it more difficult for such a huge region to open soon.
Problem 2--while the Governor left it up to the Illinois Department of Public Health to "officially" open a region based on a set of data they'll be posting on their web site, he apparently feels that this is his way of avoiding blame for not opening up the state sooner than later.
Problem 3--and this one is the most troubling. He claims that, despite the phase criteria, the soonest any region can open is May 29th, which is one day before his most recent Executive Order expires.
While the Governor threw small businesses a bone on May First by allowing retail businesses to take orders and have customers pickup outside their door, or have the product delivered, it does NOTHING to provide real relief to the thousands of small businesses that either remain closed, or can't sustain their business by taking orders and having customers do pickup.
We've received reports of some small businesses around the state going ahead and opening, taking safety measures like masks, gloves, and social distancing, because they're saying if they don't open now, their families won't eat and otherwise they'll lose everything and close for good.
As I've been saying for weeks, our rural counties have "flattened the curve" and need to re-open NOW.
So, Governor, while your "Restore Illinois" plan sounds good, it doesn't provide ANY relief to rural counties where small businesses are in DIRE need to re-open in a responsible manner.
That's our opinion...we welcome yours. Our e-mail address is email@example.com.