Illinois' Democrat Gov Will Now Jail Business Owners Who Defy His Lockdown Order
Governor J.B. Pritzker files emergency rule to charge individuals with Class A misdemeanor
Illinois' Democrat governor, J.B. Pritzker, has filed an emergency rule enabling state authorities to jail business owners who defy his lockdown order.
On Friday, Gov. Pritzker filed an emergency order that allows individuals to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for violating the state's coronavirus stay-at-home measures by opening their businesses.
Owners of restaurants, bars, barbershops, salons, gyms, and other businesses could now face up to one year in jail plus a fine up to $2,500 for operating in defiance of shutdown orders.
The measures were implemented across the state in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 by closing businesses deemed "non-essential."
Pritzker's office told the New York Times that the measure was an "additional enforcement tool for businesses that refuse to comply with the most critical aspects of the stay-at-home order."
"Only businesses that pose a serious risk to public health and refuse to comply with health regulations would be issued a citation," spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh continued.
"The rule gives law enforcement a tool that may be more appropriate and less severe than closing the business altogether," Abudayyeh added.
Illinois has seen 94,191 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 4,177 deaths tied to the disease as of Sunday statistics provided by state health officials.
Illinois Republican state Sen. Dan McConchie issued a statement criticizing Pritzker's emergency rules change.
"The new emergency rule [from Pritzker] that makes it a crime to violate his executive orders is an affront to the separation of powers," McConchie wrote on Twitter.
"Legislatures make laws. Governors enforce them. Period."
The new emergency rule @GovPritzker that makes it a crime to violate his executive orders is an affront to the separation of powers. Legislatures make laws. Governors enforce them. Period. https://t.co/SfX7SXFoo4— Dan McConchie (@DanMcConchie) May 17, 2020
The Illinois stay-at-home order is set to expire at the end of May if it is not extended.
After a Texas hairstylist was sentenced to jail for operating her salon in violation of a judge's temporary restraining order, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the outrage by retroactively revising his executive order to remove the jail time penalty.
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, another governor whose state is still under strict lockdown measures, accurately described the pain the lockdowns are putting on Americans.
"I deeply understand the stress and anxiety that people have, that entire dreams have been torn asunder because of the shutdowns, their savings account depleted and their credit rating destroyed," Newsom told CNN on Sunday.