State Senators Weigh in On Tightening Coronavirus-Related Restrictions


Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered Chicago bars and restaurants to suspend indoor service Friday amid rising COVID-19 metrics. On Saturday, establishments in Lake and McHenry counties will have to do the same.

Republican lawmakers are critical of the data behind Pritzker's decision, and some restaurants are pushing back, filing lawsuits against the governor.

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“We don’t deny that this is a very serious health crisis not only here in Illinois, but across the country and worldwide as well,” said Republican state Sen. Don DeWitte of the 33rd District, which includes parts of Kane and McHenry counties. “When we’re asking our businesses to shut down, to lay people off, to cripple our economy the way it's being crippled, the governor owes these businesses full and complete transparency when it comes to showing us and these business owners what is the data that you’re using.”

DeWitte and other Republican lawmakers want to see the contact tracing data that shows the coronavirus is spreading in bars and restaurants in the regions indoor service has been suspended. 

“The numbers are climbing exponentially. We’re headed in the wrong direction,” said Democratic state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz of the 6th district, which includes Chicago’s Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. “Unfortunately, I think we’re going to have to try to figure out a way, how to get the president of the United States and the U.S. Senate to pass another CARES Act, because there is no other way that we can help these businesses. This has been a very tough decision for all us, and I’m sure the governor.”

Feigenholtz, along with 11 other Democratic lawmakers, sent a letter to Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot asking for additional relief to the hospitality industry. The governor has encouraged bars and restaurant owners affected by the restrictions to apply for Business Interruption Grants.


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