“Make or Break Moment” Gov. JB Pritzker announces mask enforcement for local authorities

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Gov. JB Pritzker has announced new rules through the Illinois Department of Public Health allowing local authorities, including health departments and law agencies to fine businesses, schools, and child care facilities repeatedly failing to enforce the statewide mask requirements.

Under the rules, businesses, schools and child care facilities could be fined up to $2,500 for refusing to comply to mitigation tactics, ranging from masking to social distancing efforts.

“This is a make or break moment for the state of Illinois,” said Gov. Pritzker Friday morning. “What’s different about this rule is it focuses on warnings, and then a fine.”

The new rules will focus around a three-step enforcement process.

A business or organization will first be alerted about the need to comply as a warning. If that business does not comply, a written warning will be given along with an order to have customers leave the facility. A business that repeatedly violates the requirement will be subject to a Class A misdemeanor, including a fine ranging from $75 to $2,500.

“What’s available to us in the law is only essentially a misdemeanor immediately as a solution to the problem.” Gov. Pritzker said Friday. “I’m confident the vast majority of people in the State of Illinois want us to have enforcement mechanisms to make sure people are wearing face coverings and following mitigation.

The law does not target individuals, but businesses who aren’t enforcing masks requirements.

“A State’s Attorney and a Sheriff can choose to ignore that you’re speeding. They can choose to ignore that you’re breaking the law in some other way I suppose. But many of them are looking for an enforcement mechanisms. They may not have been granted one by their County Board or by the City Council, but they know people should be wearing masks.” Gov. Pritzker said this morning.

The announcement comes days after the Kankakee County Health Department announced they were looking into cases of several businesses across the area allegedly in violation of health mitigation tactics, including social distancing efforts. The news came after reports of several packed area restaurants had been made to the Department.

Previously, the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office had reported it would not enforce mask mitigation efforts due to liability issues.

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