For more than a month now, Illinois residents and small business owners have followed the necessary public health recommendations to stay home in order to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
During these unprecedented times, Illinoisans have stepped-up to do what they can to protect their loved ones and their communities. Now, residents are being asked to continue that fight through May 30 as the governor has extended his stay-at-home order for another 30 days.
I was pleased the governor’s stay-at-home extension contained recommendations submitted by Senate Republicans that will ease some of the onerous restrictions on small businesses, essential health care procedures, and state parks. This will allow residents the opportunity to avail themselves of these activities and services while maintaining the proper social-distancing protocols. However, one area not included in this extension was a regional, phased-in reopening of our state.
Downstate communities, while following the proper social distancing guidelines, are not seeing the same number of cases, but they’re suffering just the same (and if not more) economically.
Thirty days is a long time, and the governor has said the peak could be reached by the end of this month or early May. He must continue to monitor the data with the hope that we can ease restrictions before his May 30 deadline if it is safe to do so. Until there is a vaccination, we need to realize COVID-19 is our new normal. As a result, it is imperative we address how all businesses, essential or otherwise, are allowed to open and operate safely.
Our residents have been diligently doing their part to fight COVID-19. Now, it is incumbent on their elected leaders, and most importantly, their governor, to put forward a plan to re-open our state. I stand ready and willing to work together, in a bipartisan way, to show the people of Illinois that we’re in this together. Bill Brady is Illinois Senate Republican leader.