On May 5, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced his five-step, phase-in plan to reopen the state of Illinois.
State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) issued the following statement in response to the proposal, urging the Governor to bring lawmakers back to Springfield and adjust the proposal to bring relief to Southern Illinois' business community:
"While I fully support taking necessary safety precautions to protect the citizens of this state, I have very real concerns about the Governor's five-phase approach to reopening Illinois.
Here in Southern Illinois, we have so many employers who do not meet the criteria for 'essential' businesses. Now, under the Governor's proposal, these 'non-essential' businesses will go weeks without being able to resume operations. These are employers and employees in Southern Illinois who are pleading with their state leaders to recognize the realities facing our business community and to understand that they may not survive if they are not allowed to open for another 30 days or longer.
I respectfully urge the Governor to reconsider his arbitrary 28-day timeline for the next phase of his proposal, and allow businesses who are dedicated to implementing the necessary safety protocols to resume operations.
If we do not act now, the business community of this state and Southern Illinois will face irreparable damage.
I would also implore the Governor to bring lawmakers back to Springfield so that any future decisions regarding the COVID-19 health crisis are made with input from members of the General Assembly. I understand the Governor's desire to put forth a plan to provide stability for the state, but he cannot and should not be making these decisions unilaterally. We need to work together so that our state can begin recovering from this crisis."