One county in the state is set to defy Governor J.B. Pritzker’s executive orders and allow bars and restaurants to reopen. According to a release from the Sangamon County Department of Public Health yesterday reported by the State Journal Register, Sangamon County will loosen measures to allow bars & restaurants to reopen on Sunday at 6AM.
Indoor bar and dining service will have a list of 13 mitigation plans to follow if they decide to reopen. The new mitigations come as Sangamon County has reached a seven-day rolling COVID-19 positivity average of 6.5% or less for 7 consecutive days, as well as reached other metrics under the state’s COVID-19 mitigation plans. The Sangamon County Department of Public Health said if the county experiences another spike in community transmission, stricter mitigations may take effect including shuttering indoor service again.
According to WICS Newschannel 20, mixed reactions have come in from local bar & restaurant owners in Springfield. The only thing that many agreed upon was that there is a general lack of communication between the city, county, and state. Some restaurant owners said they are worried about having state and federal grant money taken back or taken away for being in defiance of the governor’s orders. Others told WICS that they were worried about how the county and state would enforce the new mitigation plan. Governor Pritzker made no indication on when he would begin loosening state restrictions at his last press conference last week: “What we don’t want to do is swing back and forth between mitigations and not having mitigations within days or a week or two of one another…We want to see how the Christmas and New Year’s holiday are going to go.”
The timeline of the reopening measures are particularly precarious as EMS Region 3, which encompasses Sangamon County and the entire WLDS/WEAI listening area, has seen an average half percent rise in test positivity rate since Christmas Day. The announcement also comes on the heels of the Illinois General Assembly saying they will be coming back to Springfield for an in-person lame duck session on January 8th.