Unless something gets changed over the next few hours, our region will automatically begin "enhanced mitigation restrictions" on Saturday due to our COVID-19 positivity rates.

What the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) calls enhanced mitigation restrictions are being called a deathblow to Rockford area restaurants and bars.

With that in mind, a letter, signed by Sen. Neil Anderson (R), Sen. Brian Stewart (R), Sen. Dave Syverson (R), Rep. John Cabello (R), Rep. Andrew Chesney (R), Rep. Tom Demmer (R), Rep. Jeff Keicher (R), Rep. Tony McCombie (R), Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R), and Rep. Maurice West (D), has been sent to Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

Here's how the letter reads:

We are requesting no less than a week stay in the Region 1 mitigation order. This will allow us time to thoroughly review the evidence and discuss other potential mitigation options to reduce positivity numbers in our region.

It is clear the mitigation order put in place to take effect October 3rd will cause restaurants and bars to bear the overwhelming brunt of these new restrictive rules. Yet from the departments’ own data we know that restaurants and bars are not one of the major causes of the spread of COVID-19.

Before implementing a decision that will lead to thousands of layoffs and permanent business closures, we owe the communities that we represent and the businesses that have worked so hard to comply with these regulations, the opportunity to discuss this plan.

There's quite a bit to unpack here, but the part of the letter that jumped out at me was the line "Yet from the departments’ own data we know that restaurants and bars are not one of the major causes of the spread of COVID-19."

If that is indeed true, then what data set is the IDPH working off of to make their decisions on enhanced mitigation restrictions? Why do bars and restaurants seem to be the go-to when discussing shutdowns?

I know that there was a meeting yesterday at Giovanni's of local bar and restaurant owners who gathered to discuss what options were available to them at this time, and that there were many who said that their business would not survive another lockdown.

It sure seems as thought there's going to be some heavy-duty pushback on this latest IDPH mandate. How far that pushback goes, and what sort of reaction this will cause among local and state officials should be very interesting to see over the next week.


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