CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — On Friday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced a set of new emergency rules, including fines for businesses who do not comply with mandating face masks, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Pritzker was joined by a coalition of industry leaders, including state politicians and representatives from labor and teachers unions to make the announcement.
“There are some causes that are fundamentally right and those causes draw people together from all walks of life and keeping our public safe is one of those causes,” the Governor said.
Pritzker said the Illinois Department of Public Health had issued new emergency rules to assist local law enforcement and state’s attorneys to enforce face coverings and social gatherings.
The new rules provide new guidance for law enforcement, of which the first step involves educating businesses on social distancing and face mask compliance. The second, Pritzker said, involves a written warning.
If businesses don’t comply, they will be ordered to have patrons leave their property to comply with public health guidance and reduce risks.
If businesses still don’t comply, they face a fine of up to $2,500.
Pritzker said the rules are aimed at businesses and no individuals will be penalized. “I’ve said all along I do not want police to penalize individuals…but they need to remind people that they need to follow this mask mandate,” he said.
“We know that face coverings are key to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it only works if everyone wears them,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We are seeing cases increasing each day and hearing about people not complying with the masking mandate. This rule is an effort to help keep all of us healthy and decrease the risk of contracting COVID-19.”
Pritzker also said that he has signed Senate Bill 471 to expand workplace protections in the wake of COVID-19. To directly protect workers in retail, the law adds a penalty for assaulting or battering a retail worker who is conveying public health guidance, such as requiring patrons to wear face-coverings or promoting social distancing, according to a press release from the governor’s office..
The law also increases paid disability leave for any injury that occurs after March 9, 2020 by 60 days for firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics whose recovery was hindered by COVID-19.
More specifically, eligible employees include:
- Any part-time or full-time State correctional officer or any other full or part-time employee of the Department of Corrections
- Any full or part-time employee of the Prisoner Review Board
- Any full or part-time employee of the Department of Human Services working within a penal institution or a State mental health or developmental disabilities facility operated by the Department of Human Services
- Any full-time law enforcement officer or full-time firefighter
SB 471 takes effect immediately.
Pritzker said the new rules are designed to provide protection for retail workers “who are now serving at the forefront of public health mitigation efforts.”
On Thursday, Illinois reported nearly 2,000 new cases of coronavirus, the second time in the last 7 days the state’s new cases reached near that number.
Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 188,424 cases, including 7,594 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 41,686 specimens for a total of 2,937,749.
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