The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved Governor J.B. Pritzker’s recently announced for businesses who do not uphold and enforce requiring masks and social distancing. The motion to oppose and suspend the rule required a majority of 8 votes. It failed 6 -5, according to reports from Rich Miller at Capitol Fax.
The Illinois Retail Merchant’s Association issued an immediate statement of disappointment. IRMA CEO Rob Karr called the upholding of the rule disappointing and the development of the rule confrontational and partisan rather than a collaborative effort. Karr says that merchants from around the state have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to keep people safe, and the upholding of the rule was an “injustice to retailers large and small.”
Under the act, businesses will be given a written warning from the Illinois Department of Public Health encouraging them to comply with health guidance for Restore Illinois protocols concerning COVID-19. Next, businesses that do not voluntarily comply will be given an order to have some or all of their patrons leave the premises as needed to comply with public health guidance and reduce risks. If the business continues to refuse to comply, the business can receive a class A misdemeanor and be subject to a fine ranging from $75-$2,500. These rules do not apply to individuals who chose to violate CDC and IDPH guidelines. The emergency rules also reinforce the authority of IDPH and local health departments to investigate COVID-19 cases and reaffirm that businesses have a responsibility to cooperate with those investigations.
The full text of the order can be found here.
The Illinois Municipal League was equally displeased with another ruling handed out by JCAR today, as they allow the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to have the administrative function of distributing federal CARES Act funding. IML CEO Brad Cole said in a press release that the state chose its own bureaucracy over the betterment of communities by withholding millions of dollars.
JCAR consists of 12 members of the General Assembly from around the state.