Rockford, Illinois News

Syverson, Sosnowski respond to latest COVID-19 restrictions

ROCKFORD — As area bar and restaurant owners brace for another round of COVID-19 restrictions, members of the state legislature weighed in Tuesday.

Stat Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, called the measures that will close indoor service in bars and restaurants haphazard.

“It’s unfortunate that the Pritzker Administration and the state health department are selectively shutting down several types of businesses without any evidence that they’re responsible for the spread of COVID-19,” Sosnowski said in a release. “More troubling is how the administration is ignoring and/or constantly changing their mitigation measures. The department had a tiered system that reduced capacity in the first tier, but now there are apparently no tiers and the administration just suspends indoor dining and closes bars. Stateline area families, employers and workers deserve better than the administration’s haphazard approach to mitigation that arbitrarily picks winners and losers with people’s livelihoods.”

Illinois Sens, Dave Syverson, R-Rockford; and Brian Stewart, R-Freeport; issued a joint statement, echoing Sosnowski’s sentiments.

“With the region reporting zero deaths in last ten days and with our hospital ICU vacancy rates at over 50 percent, any talk of business closure is unwarranted and wrong. The safety and well-being of the citizens of this state should always be our biggest priority; however, as we saw months ago, these arbitrary mitigations measures are not the answer to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senators said.

Syverson and Stewart said restricting services also restricts businesses in their ability to operate, a move that comes when the business community has just begun to recover from the a round of statewide shutdowns ordered in March.

“We cannot afford to once again allow for our businesses to be negatively impacted and our workforce to take another hit just because the governor has decided to enforce these arbitrary rules based on methodology that lacks much transparency, Before destroying our economy and family businesses any further, the Illinois Department of Public Health owes the citizens of northern Illinois a much better explanation than a mere press release,” the said. “We are calling on Director Ezike to make herself available to answer, in much more detail, for these arbitrary decisions that will so negatively impact our communities.”

Beginning Saturday, Oct. 3, bars and restaurants in Region 1–Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties–will be restricted to outdoor service and takeout. Meetings, social events and gathers are capped at 25 people or 25% of overall room capacity.

Mitigation is expected to be in place for two weeks.

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