Business owners could face misdemeanor charge if they disregard Illinois stay-at-home order

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WEHT) – The state of Illinois announced 2,294 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, for a total of 96,485 cases across the state. The state also announced 59 new deaths, bringing the total number of Illinois fatalities to 4,234.

Additionally, IDPH sent assessments to the state’s 97 local health departments with half already sending back their initial assessments regarding their ability to expand and deploy their contact tracing capabilities. Beginning today, IDPH will be sending out asks for workplans and budgets from all of these departments – allowing Illinois to incorporate their plans into the state’s overall plans and bringing them online in the coming weeks.

Governor Pritzker also announced the Illinois Contact Tracing Collaborative, a locally-driven approach to scale up contact tracing in Illinois. The state is immediately engaging two local health departments to pilot this initiative: St. Clair County in the Metro East region and Lake County in the Northeast region. IDPH has also brought on Partners in Health –a world-renowned organization for building strong community-based health systems.

Governor Pritzker also discussed a new emergency rule which says business owners who disregard the statewide stay-at-home order and reopen against orders could now face a Class A misdemeanor. Under Illinois law, a Class A misdemeanor can carry a fine of $75 to $2,500.

This type of citation will be an alternative to shutting the businesses down and/or taking liquor licenses and can be enforced by local law enforcement. Governor Pritzker said this should not be the first step, but should come after initial warnings. He said he is not aware of anyone having received this yet. Additionally, this type of citation cannot be used on an individual basis such as enforcing someone to wear a face mask.

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(This story was originally published on May 18, 2020)

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