Republican Senators call for Illinois to move to next phase of reopening now

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A woman looks at signs at a store closed due to COVID-19 in Niles, Ill., Wednesday, May 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – A group of Republican lawmakers said the state is ready to move on to the next phase of reopening now.

While some have called for the state to re-evaluate the governor’s plan for weeks, others said it is what he did this week that pushed constituents over the edge.

Earlier this week, Governor J.B. Pritzker took to the streets of Cook County to join protestors marching for justice. Senate Republicans are now saying if that was okay, more people should be allowed to come into area businesses.

“The current restrictions in place are forcing Illinois to lag behind our neighboring states and are not founded in scientific evidence. To give an example, currently it is considered safe to allow groups of ten or less to gather inside or outside, but for some inexplicably reason it becomes unsafe once food or drinks are ordered. That defies commonsense,” said Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford). “Illinois is ready to move into the next phase of recovery. However, due to an arbitrary timeline, Illinois businesses continue to suffer and are forced to remain in a holding pattern.”

In a letter, the senators said local owners of places like gyms and pools are confused by their inability to safely open while thousands of their “fellow residents gather in public places with little to no regard of social distancing.”

Thousands also gathered for Reopen Illinois rallies weeks ago, many without practicing social distancing or wearing masks. While attendees at the march with Governor Pritzker can be seen with masks, Springfield senator Steve McClure said the governor showed favoritism when it comes to obeying the rules.

“To target one group and tell them that they are going to kill people for being outside and yet allow another, in much larger groups without social distancing, to do the same thing and then march with them,” McClure said. “To be honest with you, I think people would much rather the governor call a special session.”

Senate Republicans are asking for the state to move on to the next phase of reopening Friday, June 12th given recent data from Public Health.

Governor Pritzker said as the state reopens into new phases, we will see more cases because more people are interacting with one another. He said the bulk of hospitalizations are seen between 14 and 21 days after reopening. The state is in that time period of phase three now.

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