Governor Tells Legislators To Pass Mask Mandate
Illinois health officials announced 1,382 new COVID-19 cases and eight additional deaths Sunday, for a total of 194,080 cases and 7,636 deaths in Illinois since the pandemic began.
Governor Pritzker's announcement on Friday of new guidelines that call for warnings and fines for businesses that "allow" unmasked patrons to shop has gotten some pretty serious push-back from the business community over the last few days, but the governor seems to be doubling down.
12 members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) vote on the measure tomorrow, although eight of them would have to reject it for it to not take effect.
Here's what he had to say after admitting the mask mandate is being met with opposition from business groups:
They’re calling legislators to vote down enforcement rules, there are publicity-chasing lawyers suing to strike down public health rules so they can get their names in paper. Every horrible thing we’ve seen so far is nothing compared to what we see if we throw our hands up in the air right now. This pandemic isn’t over.
So, if I have this right, businesses that disagree with the governor have hired publicity-seeking lawyers who just want to get their names in the paper. That's the kind of comment that really brings people around to seeing things your way, right?
Wrong. Here's what the The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation's leading small business advocacy organization, had to say in response to Governor Pritzker's comments:
This isn't a question of whether masks help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. It's a question of whether employers, especially small businesses, have the resources to confront customers who politely decline or aggressively refuse to obey the rules and wear a face covering.
We've all seen the videos of people who become verbally and physically abusive when asked to wear a mask or leave the premises. It's wrong to assume that cashiers, sales associates and store managers have the training to defuse these situations and persuade people to either mask up or get out.
Friday's rule imposing fines on owners if customers don't want to wear a mask is outrageous and patently unfair. The Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules is set to vote on the rule tomorrow. On behalf of our small business members, we urge the committee to reject this ill-conceived rule and for our elected officials to focus any enforcement action on the people who break the rules rather than the businesses they choose to enter.
It seems to me that businesses (with a few exceptions) are on-board with mask wearing. They draw the line at businesses being the targets of warnings and/or fines for the behavior of those individuals (and we've all seen them) who choose not to wear a face-covering.