Illinois Gov. Pritzker Floats ‘Jail Time’ for Business Owners Who Reopen

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker threatens business owners with one year prison sentence if they reopen

Illinois business owners who dare to reopen amid the state’s stay-at-home order could face jail time under Gov. Pritzker’s Orwellian new rules.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently announced the new rule that would result in business owners facing a class a misdemeanor charge and serious fines if they reopen too early.

On Wednesday, the Joint Committee of Administrative Rule will decide the current fate of Illinois businesses that try to reopen against the Governor’s orders.

Khqa.com reports: Non-essential businesses that don’t follow Illinois’ stay-at-home protocols could face major legal consequences if this proposed rule goes into effect.

KHQA reached out to Tri-State authorities and state representatives to get their take on the proposal.

On Friday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker filed a new emergency rule stating that non-essential businesses that violate the stay-at-home order and reopen can be charged with a class a misdemeanor and even face jail time.

The new order would be implemented over the next 150 days.

However, a local law enforcement agency says that they have no intention on taking this kind of extreme legal action on anyone trying to retrieve normality.

We are not going to issue any citations in regard to the governor’s order. We are going to enforce the governor’s order. What I mean by enforcing the governor’s order. If we get the complaint. We’ll go there and educate the business on what could happen. If we’re sent there a second time, then we’ll do a report and send them to the appropriate agency,” Quincy Police Department Deputy Chief Shannon Pilkington said. 

Law enforcement leaders do not feel the Governor’s new proposed rule will take a direct local impact.

I’m not arresting anybody for trying to make a living opening their business. They still have bills to pay and the need income to pay those bills. I just don’t think it will be wise at this time trying to fine anyone,” Pike County Sheriff David Greenwood said.

A Class A misdemeanor in Illinois could mean up to $2,500 in fines.

State leaders acknowledge that these legal actions are not appropriate to implement on local businesses during this trying time.

On any given day you may see as many as four people in these stores. There is certainly no overcrowding. I think we need to allow our business owners to open up in a safe manner,” Illinois 93rd District State Representative Norine Hammond said.

Local representatives agree that businesses have already suffered enough severe consequences due to the health crisis.

It’s been tremendously difficult for them to try and make enough just to stay afloat and then we kind of want to bang on them a little bit harder by saying listen we’re going to throw you in jail or charge you with a misdemeanor if you open. This is not a positive way to try and get back to normal,” Illinois 94th District State Representative Randy Frese said.