GOP senators push Pritzker to move up reopening of state
Illinois’ 19 Republican senators on Wednesday urged Gov. JB Pritzker to allow all four regions of the state to move to the next phase of reopening as early as this Friday, two weeks ahead of schedule.
In a letter Wednesday to Pritzker, the senators said their local businesses have raised concerns about why they must remain closed, despite recent public gatherings and protests where thousands of people have congregated in close vicinity.
“They are equally confused by their inability to safely reopen and operate their establishments and places of businesses, while at the same time watching as tens of thousands of their fellow residents gather, albeit legally, in public places with little to no regard for recommended distancing,” the letter said.
The senators also raised concerns that Illinois’ reopening plan is more restrictive than those in bordering states, which have loosened restrictions in recent weeks.
Phase four of Pritzker’s reopening plan would allow bars and restaurants to resume some indoor dining, as well as permit gatherings of up to 50 people. The earliest any region may move into the next phase is June 26.
As of Wednesday, all four regions are on track to move into phase four, with the state continuing to see declines in overall hospitalizations and increased access to ICU beds and ventilators.
“These trends demonstrate that Illinois can move safely into this next phase,” the letter said.
Speaking at an unrelated event in Moline, Pritzker said he believed the state was moving between phases “as fast as we can.” He said the 28-day period between phases allows health experts to track COVID-19 data and ensure the state is moving in the right direction.
“You don’t really see the bulk of hospitalizations until between 14 and 21 days after people engage with one another that have COVID-19,” Pritzker said. “And so the idea here is to make sure that we don’t overwhelm the hospital system as we reopen.”
There were 78 more COVID-related deaths reported Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 6,095. An additional 625 confirmed cases were reported, bringing the state’s total to 129,837 in 101 counties.
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