Several Clinton businesses are reopening and local officials are weighing in on enforcement of violating the Governor's mandates and potential consequences.
As a few DeWitt County restaurants, hair salons, and health centers reopen, State's Attorney Dan Markwell indicates he is going to handle any cases turned over to him on a case-by-case basis. He says right now they have two cases that he will not pursue criminal charges for.
Clinton Attorney Kevin Hammer indicates he and several attorneys in central Illinois believe the Governor is overstepping his bounds. He explains the Governor, through public health rules, has not followed state statutes and regulations.
DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Executive Director Dave Remmert indicates his role in all this is advisory. He is advising businesses that will be reopening to keep in mind, there are things at stake beyond the enforcement jurisdiction of the health department.
State's Attorney Markwell echoes similar comments as Remmert. A business could be contacted by the Attorney General, and that enforcement would be beyond the control of his office.
According to Hammer, the Governor is trying to scare people to remain closed and does not feel that is right. He points out establishments do need to be concerned about losing their licenses, however, he does not believe violating a mandate is enough to remove a license.
Like the State's Attorney, Remmert indicates a lot of enforcement from his end of things comes on a case-by-case basis. He worries the state may step in and take away the licenses of these establishments.
Other local officials have indicated enforcement of mandates from the Governor's office is somewhat vague and difficult to enforce. Hammer calls it a disconnect between the various agencies. He wants to see more leadership at the local to back their small businesses.
While there are various avenues for the State of Illinois to pursue enforcement of violations, Remmert indicates the Governor has recently turned to a very old law that would hit violators of the executive orders with a Class-A misdemeanor.
According to Hammer, it will be the small business owners hurt the most from these mandates from Governor Pritzker and many do not have the resources to obtain legal help. He is working with other attorneys in the area to provide legal counsel pro bono, in addition to trying to raise money for these business owners through a 'Go Fund Me' campaign.