Under Gov. Pritzker's new emergency rules filed Friday, any Illinois business owner who violates his stay-at-home order could face up to a year in prison.
Any person or business who ignores the order could be deemed guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, as noted in Section 8.1 of the Department of Public Health Act which is attached to the left of this article.
Governor Pritzker handed down his original stay-at-home order on March 21. This closed down non-essential businesses like fitness centers and salons and forced dine-in restaurants to only do curbside pickup or delivery. He has since then extended the order twice.
Several businesses across Central Illinois have already ignored the Governor's orders, such as JB's Hideout who hosted an "anti-corona party" Friday evening.
Earlier this week, Pritzker stated that local and state law enforcement can and will take action.
State Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) issued a statement on May 18 that involved criticism of the governor's emergency rules:
“I’m disappointed in Governor Pritzker’s decision to punish business owners who are struggling to pay their bills because he shut them down for two months. I also find it disturbing that the Governor is now creating his own laws to fine business owners and put them in jail if they don’t follow his executive orders. All of this, while releasing violent criminals from prison. The people of Illinois recognize the many inconsistencies in his rules and have figured out that he really isn’t providing the leadership we need during difficult times.
We are headed back to session on Wednesday. It’s time for the legislature to do its job and create a plan to safely and quickly reopen Illinois. Several counties and mayors have put forth plans that should be considered since it appears that Governor Pritzker wants to keep us closed indefinitely.”
Several attorney's across the state have made it clear that they could not prosecute businesses that violate the order because there were no specific punishments laid down that they could hand out. These new emergency rules could change that.
In addition to being jailed under the new rule, a business owner who violates the governor's order could face a fine.
The new rules will be discussed at the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules meeting on May 20th, if they don’t block the emergency rules they’ll be in effect for 150 days.