Illinois businesses that go against the state’s mandated stay-at-home order could face a hefty fine and even time behind bars under a new proposal.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed a new rule on Friday that would punish businesses that don’t follow the state's stay-at-home rules.
On Wednesday, the Joint Committee of Administrative Rule will take up the governor’s proposal, local ABC News affiliate KHQA channel 7 reports.
Pritzker proposed slapping nonessential businesses owners who break the order with a misdemeanor charge that could result in fines and even possible jail time.
If approved, the new order would go into effect over the next 150 days.
But the proposal is already receiving push back from local law enforcement agencies.
“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.
Pike County Sheriff David Greenwood said he wouldn’t arrest anybody “for trying to make a living opening their business.”
“They still have bills to pay and the need income to pay those bills,” he told the news station. “I just don't think it will be wise at this time trying to fine anyone.”
A Class A misdemeanor in Illinois could result in $2,500 in fines.
Some state leaders also say the proposal is overreaching.
“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.
Illinois 94th District State Representative Randy Frese told the news station that local businesses have already suffered enough throughout the outbreak.
“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," Frese said.
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