Sen. Wilcox offers recommendations for reopening Illinois

McHenry, IL. – It’s time to start considering Illinois’ future post-COVID-19, according to State Sen. Craig Wilcox, who said attention needs to begin shifting away from the statewide shutdown to how Illinois begins to get back to normal. To that end, Sen. Wilcox is offering a number of recommendations for reopening the state. 

“The ‘stay-at-home’ order was a one-size-fits-all approach based on a worst case scenario for the city of Chicago. Illinois is a diverse state. Each region has its own peculiar needs, which should have been taken into consideration. It’s time to reevaluate and move forward,” said Wilcox (R-McHenry).

At a recent daily press briefing, Governor Pritzker announced Illinois is weeks away from the anticipated peak in COVID-19 cases, and the speculation is he will extend his stay-at-home order due to expire April 30. Wilcox is recommending the following reasonable actions be taken to reopen Illinois:

Business activity/Restoring jobs

  • Standards should be in place for all businesses to operate safely and avoid the spread of COVID 19.
  • All businesses deemed “essential” under the current Executive Order (EO) should be allowed to continue their operations.
  • For businesses not deemed “essential” under the current EO, use a measured approach allowing them to open with limits on capacity.
  • Allow service businesses, including those related to personal hygiene to operate with safety guidelines
  • Better, more consistent interpretation of “essential” businesses by state and local officials. The current confusion about essential and nonessential businesses has only worsened the hardship on employers.

Expanded Outdoor Recreation

  • Allow additional outdoor recreation where it can be safely enjoyed with strict social distancing protocols, such as at State Parks, Forest Preserves, Lakes, Campgrounds, Golf Courses, etc.

Moratorium on Emergency Powers

  • A moratorium on all state-agency emergency rule making without input of the legislative leaders.

Additional Recommendations

  • Fully disclose the data and science behind the next stay at home order, or any loosening of restrictions and publicly disclose how those data points will be used when considering any potential, phased-in, approach to reopen Illinois.
  • While the COVID-19 virus does not recognize geographical boundaries, but its impact on the state varies significantly by region. Different regions of Illinois should be permitted to operate at different levels based on the available data within that region. 
  • Deliver on massive testing capabilities promised by state health officials through the course of the current stay at home order. IE. 10,000 tests per day.
  • Consider encouraging all residents to begin keeping a journal of their daily interactions with contacts outside their households, as a way to begin “tracing” right away.
  • Consider using the 11 EMS (Emergency Medical Services) regions for geographical breakdown in tracking metrics for lifting of the stay at home.
  • IDPH is already tracking hospital resource capacity by these 11 regions. That data should be used to determine where and when partial or full openings are allowed.
  • While COVID 19 is clearly a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of our citizens, there are other essential, potentially lifesaving health services that are not currently being provided. Services like mammograms, colonoscopies, cancer screenings, cardiac disease testing, worsening depression and routine disease monitoring with blood work and other testing, etc. people will be put at risk. 

“These are reasonable, commonsense ways we can begin to reopen Illinois, and provide a little hope against the backdrop of the doom and gloom of daily virus reports and information,” said Wilcox. “A regional approach reflects and respects the diversity of our state and citizens. The employers and people of the 32nd Senate District understand the need to move forward with caution and safety, but they also know it’s time for the recovery to begin.”

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