With several Illinois counties and municipalities considering reopening early in violation of the state’s stay-at-home order, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he would consider all options available to him to enforce the orders, including withholding federal funds from those counties.
During his daily press availability Tuesday, Pritzker said that he has considered implementing similar enforcement actions to those of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who threatened to withhold federal stimulus funds from counties that don’t adhere to the stay-at-home order and citations for businesses that violate the orders.
“We would consider that,” Pritzker said when asked if he would consider similar measures. “The state already provides a lot of support for cities and counties, and so I would just suggest that there are a number of enforcement mechanisms that are available to us.”
Pritzker said that county officials who are looking to reopen businesses before they’re allowed to by the state’s order are acting in opposition to modeling data that the state is using to dictate their actions.
“These people do not follow science or data. They’re just listening to partisan rhetoric, perhaps, and are following their own instincts, but not science,” he said.
In Pennsylvania, Wolf warned that counties that disobey state restrictions put in place due to COVID-19 would face serious consequences, including losing access to federal stimulus money, and individual businesses that open in violation of the order could face citations.
“I won’t sit back and watch residents who live in counties under stay-at-home orders get sick because local leaders cannot see the risks of COVID-19 and push to reopen prematurely,” Wolf said in a series of tweets.
Wolf said that restaurants and bars that open in violation of the order could risk citations, and those penalties could ultimately result in businesses having liquor licenses revoked.
While Pritzker said that he doesn’t want to use those types of enforcement strategies, he indicated that he wouldn’t take them off the table.
“I don’t want to utilize them. I have asked people to do the right thing and I want to point out that the vast majority of people in Illinois have been doing the right thing,” he said. “Those people that you’re referring to are the outliers.”