Last week Governor Pritzker announced Tier 1 mitigations for Sangamon County. These mitigations called for a temporary end of indoor bar/restaurant service, 11:00 PM -6:00 AM closure, mandatory reservations, and many other guidelines.
We understand that additional mitigations are needed to slow the rate of spread, yet we are also concerned about the impact on businesses and their employees that are already struggling to make ends meet.
We have discussed with our medical and legal advisors an approach that will give our restaurants and bars a timeframe to comply with more stringent guidelines, without totally sacrificing indoor service. Our plan follows the Governor’s guidelines, and in some aspects exceeds his plan, through a phased in approach.
This is a two-week timeframe that combines new mitigation requirements with more aggressive enforcement and zero tolerance for those who do not comply. This potential phase-in approach could be the best way to reduce the spread and allow our hard pressed restaurant and bar owners a chance at staying open.
Our medical advisors believe that we have two weeks to flatten or reverse this trend in order to get back on a recovery track. During this two week period our medical advisors will be closely watching daily the positivity rate in Sangamon County and the ICU capacity at our local hospitals. They will not hesitate to sound the alarm if those metrics dramatically worsen. If we make it through these two weeks our medical experts will analyze where we stand. At that time, it is still very possible that in order to protect our citizens we will need to take a more aggressive position to mitigate the virus.
We have been very pleased with the compliance from the majority of business owners during this pandemic. We hope that will continue in the days and weeks to come. We believe the vast majority of establishments will comply with these guidelines. For the few that may not adhere to the guidelines, Sangamon County is committed to taking the necessary steps to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community by improving the adherence to guidelines by all our businesses.
We know the physical, mental and economic suffering our friends and relatives have gone through. And we can't stand by and watch our citizens get sick and our businesses shut down because we didn't try hard enough. If we don't work together to flatten the curve again, we will all be required to go back to conditions that none of us want. We are asking you to invest in yourselves and invest in the safety of all Sangamon County residents. All of us need to follow the simple steps of wearing a mask, socially distancing and washing your hands as often as possible.
Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell
Sangamon County Department of Public Health Director Gail O’Neill