Local officials and businesses call on Pritzker to release data behind COVID closure orders

With new restrictions on the way for IDPH Region 3 beginning Sunday, State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield), State Representative CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville), and State Representative Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) joined with local restaurant and bar owners to highlight the need for greater transparency on the data being used to order damaging business closures. They also questioned the decision to shut down indoor bar and restaurant service despite conflicting information about where the virus is actually spreading.

“We’ve been shown no data from the Pritzker administration to demonstrate why Region 3’s restaurants and bars should be closed down. We’ve been asking for more transparency, actual data that we can see, and public hearings for months. Despite repeated promises that data is coming, we’ve received nothing,” said Senator McClure. “In Region 3, there are many employees working at these restaurants and bars who live paycheck to paycheck, and they don’t know how they are going to pay their bills. We’ve got business owners that may have to permanently close their doors. They’ve been given no data to support the governor’s unilateral decision to target them.”

The Governor’s mitigation order requires indoor service at bars and restaurants to close, and to limit all other public gatherings to the lesser of 25 people or 25% capacity. Pritzker ordered the measures to take effect at 12:01am on Sunday, November 1st. According to the administration, the mitigation measures were ordered based on a testing positivity rate over 8% for three consecutive days. The Governor said the order will remain in place until the positivity rate drops below 6.5% for three consecutive days.

“The Pritzker administration is using the wrong metrics in their unilateral decision-making to shut down our restaurants and taverns,” Rep. Davidsmeyer said. “These are small businesses that have been operating carefully and following CDC guidelines. There is no evidence that outbreaks have started because of indoor dining. The State should not be punishing responsible small businesses and their employees, which have already suffered enough from the pandemic and shutdown.”

“I’m disappointed with Pritzker’s refusal to release contact tracing data that he says justifies his decision to close indoor service at bars and restaurants,” said Rep. Mike Murphy. “Dr. Ezike stated that the biggest cause of outbreaks is universities and large private gatherings; however, the new restrictions only damage local small businesses that provide opportunities for thousands of workers to make a living.”

So far, 10 of the state’s 11 IDPH regions have had mitigations measures ordered. As for the last region, according to IDPH data, Region 2 has a positivity rate currently climbing past the 8% threshold. By the middle of next week, the entire state could very well be under the additional mitigation measures.

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