I’ve heard from citizens on all sides of the issue regarding the recent Resurgent Mitigation Restrictions put in place by Governor Pritzker. Some want tighter controls and others want fewer restrictions. The reality is there’s no singular approach that will be widely supported or satisfy everyone.
I believe I speak for a good number of folks when I say we are concerned for our restaurants and businesses. While at the same time we are concerned about the rising number of confirmed cases of COVID19, in our county. The current restrictions, put in place by the Governor, will make it difficult for some of our businesses to survive. Since the start of the pandemic, our challenge has been balancing the health of our community with economic realities.
Even though the positivity rate in McDonough County is among the lowest in the state, we are part of a much larger region where the rates are higher. We understand positivity rates were a factor used by the state when deciding to impose the recent restriction on indoor dining.
Whether we agree or not with how these mitigation decisions were made we want local businesses to survive and continue to be a strong part of our economy, while at the same time do our best to ensure the greater public health. To that end, I am approaching this issue from several angles:
- I am working with mayors across the state and the Illinois Municipal League to encourage the state to use broader metrics for evaluating COVID Resurgent Mitigation restrictions.
- We believe, locally, a large source of COVID exposures comes from private gatherings. I encourage people to continue limiting these exposures. Make sure we use face coverings, social distance and wash our hands, frequently.
- We all need to support our local businesses. During these restrictions, order for delivery or pickup curbside. Spend local. Additionally, I am reaching out to state and federal legislators encouraging additional stimulus packages to help our businesses. We want our restaurants to continue to be successful.
As a community leader I will not encourage anyone to violate state or federal regulations. After conversations with other community partners, I believe the best course of action is to focus on actively working with state and federal leaders to implement change that allows for acceptable ways for businesses to remain open. Any complaints received by the City of Macomb will be forwarded to the McDonough County Health Department who will respond accordingly.
To quote another Illinois Mayor, ‘the proper response to this is not political grandstanding’ but a focus on finding solutions that help our businesses remain viable, while still maintaining public health. At the onset of this pandemic, when our community faced high positivity rates and over a dozen deaths, the community worked together. That’s what we need to do now; protect the health of our community, wear face coverings, social distance and wash hands and minimize exposure, and help small businesses by working together to find solutions that will help keep them viable.