Rockford, Illinois News

JCAR upholds Pritzker’s latest mask mandate, fines for noncompliance

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), on Tuesday, upheld Gov.  J.B Pritzker’s latest mask mandate and fines for businesses that do not comply.

JCAR voted on a motion to suspend the governor’s emergency order and needed eight “yes” votes for it to be overturned. However, only six lawmakers opposed the rules. The order remains in effect.

Pritzker announced last Friday that a business owners must mandate masks inside their facilities. Those who do not comply will receive two warnings. A third offense could be met with a fine of up to $2,500 and a Class A misdemeanor.

“I have always put the health and safety of Illinoisans first, and I’m gratified that local governments now have an additional way to keep their communities safe,” Pritzker said.

The governor said the majority of business owners are requiring masks but there have been outliers.

“Working alongside these partners, these rules will provide multiple opportunities for compliance before any penalty is issued and will help ensure that the minority of people who refuse to act responsibly won’t take our state backward,” he said. These rules will ensure that there is a commonsense way to enforce public health guidelines with an emphasis on education first so that Illinois can continue to make substantial progress in our fight against COVID-19.”

Pritzker thanked a host of organizations Tuesday, including the Illinois Education Association; Illinois Federation of Teachers; Illinois Health and Hospital Association; Illinois Public Health Association; Open Safe Illinois and our Safety Net Hospitals. He also credited the Chicago Federation of Labor, the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Illinois Restaurant Association, National Nurses United Organizing Committee-Illinois Chapter and SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana for their input on the new rules.

Meanwhile, Illinois announced 1,549 new coronavirus infections Tuesday, including 20 additional deaths. Since March, there have been 196,948 cases, including 7,657 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The state’s rolling seven-day positivity rate is currently 4.1%. Illinois’ numbers include positive and probable cases of COVID-19.

As of  Monday night, 1,459 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms. Of those, 336 patients were in the ICU and 127 were on ventilators.

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