Nearly 100 people rallied on the south lawn of the Cass County Courthouse in Virginia on Saturday afternoon against Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Reopen Illinois plan and executive orders. Patrick Bell, owner of Cass Meats, says he organized the event after a Facebook post about his business went viral last week. “I wanted to make sure our customers understood, I think it was a week ago Thursday that I posted on Facebook, that we weren’t going to enforce the governor’s guidelines on masks in a business. If customers wanted to wear masks, they could and if not, that’s fine, too. I just wanted to make that clear with everyone before the Friday, May 1st when the new executive orders started. The post took off. For a small town, it kind of went viral. It’s got over 260+ shares now. For a small town, that’s a lot action and a lot of comments. I think we touched on something here. The sentiment in the area is pretty clear that people are ready for this to be over. I think it’s an over reach. It’s just not sustainable. We can’t live like this any longer and we are going to let our elected leaders, Governor Pritzer, our local officials, whoever wants to listen to us know that we are tired of this and we need to move on.”
Bell says he believes the high number of cases in the county have been originating from JBS and nowhere else in the county. “I think the cases are basically located in one certain area, the meat plant in Beardstown. I’m not concerned about that. Evidentially, they’ve taken whatever kind of precautions they can down there to stop the spread as far as testing, quarantining, and such. Other than that, I’m not hearing of any other cases out here in the county much for the rest of us to be concerned about.”
Bell hopes that the rally’s awareness will catch the attention of political leaders to possibly change the plan to reopen the state immediately. “This rally is basically as support and to encourage each other, support each other, and to let our leaders know wherever this goes – if they hear about it up in Chicago or not, it’s great if they do – just that the people out here who are living through this are ready to move on. This is not acceptable. The governor’s reopen plan is just ridiculous. We’re not going to live like that this entire year with his multi-stage plan. We’re just not going to do it.”
The rally lasted for nearly an hour as people heard from Springfield realtor and former tea party activist Fritz Pfister and from Bell. Bell hopes that local leaders will hear the message and decide to publicly announce they will not enforce Pritzker’s executive order and to allow Cass County’s economy to reopen.