Illinois business owners face fines if they reopen too soon

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Business owners who violate the state’s lockdown by reopening too early could face hefty fines.

Gov. JB Pritzker said he knows there are businesses that are violating his statewide stay-at-home order, so this new rule is for them.

Last week, Pritzker filed a rule that gives law enforcement the ability to hand-out citations to those non-essential businesses that are operating when they should be closed.

A violation of the rule could result in business owners facing a class A misdemeanor, which could result in a fine of $75 to $2500, and up to a year in jail.

The governor said the rule is actually a lighter enforcement mechanism, compared to pulling business licenses or shutting businesses down.

“We don’t want to have to pull licenses from people. We don’t want to have to shut a business down. What we really want is for people to comply and we want to give them this type of citation as an alternative,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker pointed out that thousands of non-essential businesses are on the brink of opening on May 29, as most of the state is preparing to move to Phase 3 — which is the recovery phase of the governor’s reopening plan.

Some of those businesses set to reopen at the end of next week include salons, barber shops, fitness clubs and even retail stores — all with limits on capacity.

Restaurants and bars will still not be able to offer dine-in services.

Despite the governor putting the new rule in the books, he said he’s not aware of any businesses receiving citations over the weekend.

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