CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker continued calls for Illinois legislators to pass a new mask mandate Sunday, as the measure meets opposition from business owners who say they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of individuals.
Businesses who violate the new mandate by not enforcing the use of face coverings among customers and employees would first receive a written warning from local law enforcement and health departments.
If they don’t comply, officials could order customers to leave and eventually charge the business with a Class A Misdemeanor and a fine of up to $2,500.
Speaking alongside doctors and health officials at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Sunday, Pritzker acknowledged 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,” Pritzker said.
When the 12 members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) vote on the measure Tuesday, eight of them would have to reject it for it to not take effect.
“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,” Pritzker said.
Doctors who joined Pritzker in speaking Sunday warned of a rise in COVID-19 cases in Illinois, saying the use of face coverings is one of the best weapons against the spread of the virus.
Illinois health officials announced 1,382 new COVID-19 cases and eight additional deaths Sunday. There are now a total of 194,080 cases and 7,636 deaths in Illinois since the pandemic began.
Within the last 24 hours, labs have collected 41,354 additional tests for a total of 3,073,988, and the preliminary seven-day positivity rate from August 2 to August 8 is 4.1%.
“What we’re doing now is not working, we are on a path to more problems,” said Dr. Robert Murphy, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Dr. Emily Landon, University of Chicago Medicine said she “can’t figure out” why masks seem to be so controversial.
“They make life safer and help protect businesses and the economy – if everyone wore masks as required we could avoid another stay-at-home order,” Landon said.
As of Saturday night, 1,488 people in Illinois were in the hospital with COVID-19. Those those patients, 322 are in the ICU and 114 are on ventilators.