Pritzker Warns Defiant Leaders, Businesses

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday warned that local governments and businesses that reopen too soon in defiance of his administration’s strategy will face potential consequences that could affect their bottom lines.

Pritzker said counties that jump ahead of his phased “Restore Illinois” plan may not be reimbursed for emergency expenses that stem from their actions. He said licensed businesses could face discipline from state regulators, including the Liquor Control Commission or the Department of Professional Regulation, if they ignore his public health mandate.

Illinois is under a stay-at-home order until the end of May. Restrictions could be eased in some regions, depending on their metrics. 

Some downstate officials have complained Pritzker's plan is too restrictive, given the smaller populations of their areas. Some suburbs, meanwhile, have balked at being lumped in the same Northeast region as Chicago and Cook County. 

"For leaders, there are no easy decisions in a pandemic. Every choice -- every choice -- has consequences," Pritzker said during his latest coronavirus briefing, livestreamed on Facebook.

"I know leaders across the state are struggling with these choices, and I have sympathy for them in that struggle," the governor added. "What I don't have sympathy for are those so intent on disregarding science and logic, so afraid to tell their constituents what they may not want to hear, that they put more peoples' lives at risk."

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 192 additional deaths from the novel coronavirus. That is the largest daily increase in the number of COVID-19 related deaths since the pandemic began. To date, the state reports 3,792 lives lost.

The number of coronavirus cases tallied in Illinois reached 84,698, including 1,671 new “positives.”