Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says that more local testing would help residents understand the broad reach of COVID-19 in the state. Ezard says he supports the idea of more local testing at Passavant Area Hospital. “I do believe more testing will paint a better picture because we would know if some people in our area who are probably positive for COVID-19. With them getting tested locally at our hospital and not in Beardstown or Springfield, it would help everybody in the community better understand about moving forward. Time will tell. We will just keep plugging along for trying to get testing done here and see if that happens.”
Ezard says the governor’s stay at home order has brought some good news and frustration. He says that the city golf course is currently awaiting word on when and how to reopen. “I know the golf course has a plan in place. Right now, they are waiting on the guidelines that are being sent down by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. They have not received those directions yet. They have a plan in place and do whatever they need to do to acknowledge those rules and get everything opened up next Friday. I’m happy with that. I’m very frustrated as far as some of the essential businesses that Governor Pritzker did not talk about. We’ll see what we can do locally to change that. If necessary, we’ll go to him again and plead our case and work from there. Overall, I understand what he is doing to protect the life, health and safety of our state but, I along with others feel that we are a little bit different down here in Central and West Central Illinois. I think things working through me and the health officials on the local level would benefit, and we could open some things up more and more.”
Ezard says he’s also exploring local camping measures. “Moving forward, there is still no camping allowed. That’s one thing, I know the governor is going to open some of the state parks. That’s a good move on his part. I don’t see where there is a reason where we couldn’t undertake some local control and local changes to kind of identify some camping rules and put them in place.”
Ezard says that new rules are being issued for Lake Jacksonville and Lake Mauvaisterre. “Starting on Monday, April 27th, we will just be allowing boating and fishing to Morgan County residents and 2019 boat permit holders only. We’ve seen many people coming from out of town and out of state coming down to fish at the lake. We feel that it is appropriate now to set that limit to just Morgan County residents and boat permit holders to kind of discourage people traveling in from everywhere else to do those things.”
Ezard says if anyone has any questions about the city’s lakes to call Brett Gilbreth at 217-408-8771.