Local lawmakers ask IDPH Director Ezike for delay of new COVID-19 restrictions

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Local lawmakers have sent a formal letter to Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, asking for a delay in mitigation efforts, aimed at closing bars and restaurants, scheduled to begin Saturday.

On Wednesday, Illinois’ Region 1 – Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, DeKalb, Carroll, Lee, and Jo Daviess counties – exceeded the 8% threshold on COVID-19 testing positivity rates, triggering automatic enhanced mitigation restrictions, which go into effect on Saturday, October 3rd.

These include the closure of indoor service at bars and restaurants, and restricting gatherings to 25 people or 25% of room capacity.

The letter reads, “We are requesting no less than a week stay in the Region 1 mitigation order. This will allow us time to thoroughly review the evidence and discuss other potential mitigation options to reduce positivity numbers in our region.

“It is clear the mitigation order put in place to take effect October 3rd will cause restaurants and bars to bear the overwhelming brunt of these new restrictive rules. Yet from the departments’ own data we know that restaurants and bars are not one of the major causes of the spread of COVID-19.

“Before implementing a decision that will lead to thousands of layoffs and permanent business closures, we owe the communities that we represent and the businesses that have worked so hard to comply with these regulations, the opportunity to discuss this plan.”

The letter was signed by Sen. Neil Anderson (R), Sen. Brian Stewart (R), Sen. Dave Syverson (R), Rep. John Cabello (R), Rep. Andrew Chesney (R), Rep. Tom Demmer (R), Rep. Jeff Keicher (R), Rep. Tony McCombie (R), Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R), and Rep. Maurice West (D).

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