Another Illinois region goes under COVID-19 mitigation standards

(The Center Square) – One of the largest downstate cities is now facing coronavirus restrictions from Gov. J.B. Pritzker as COVID-19 positivity rates continue to increase across the state.

Region 3, which is west central Illinois and includes Springfield, will be placed under mitigation standards on Sunday. According to the Department of Public Health, the area reported a 7-day positivity rate of 8 percent and is currently at 8.8 percent.

“Well-meaning and reasonable people can have fair disagreements about how and where to draw lines and connect dots, but when every single metric in every single corner of our state is trending poorly, we have to take meaningful action to keep our people safe,” Pritzker said during his daily COVID-19 briefing Thursday.

Indoor service at bars and restaurants will be prohibited, and outdoor dining must end by 11 p.m. Social events are limited to fewer than 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity, whichever is smaller.

As of Thursday, nine of the state’s 11 regions were either scheduled to be, or were currently under mitigation standards. Only Region 2, which is Bloomington-Normal all the way to the Illinois River, and Region 6, east central Illinois, are not scheduled for mitigation restrictions. The governor noted Region 6 has seen two days of positivity rates approaching 8%, so could be next.

Some GOP lawmakers held their own news conference in response to the news that Region 3 is facing restrictions. State Rep. Tim Butler, whose 87th District is affected, said Pritzker refuses to accept input before implementing restrictions.

“He is not listening to members of the General Assembly, he’s not listening to the public, he’s not listening to the owners of the businesses that are going to be gutted by these mitigations that are going into effect,” Butler said.

State Rep. Mike Murphy, a former restaurateur, said if the governor has evidence that these eating and drinking establishments are a problem, he should make that data public.

“Twenty-two members of the House of Representatives asked for that information and we have yet to receive it,” Murphy said. “If he has science to prove that restaurants and bars are the problem, bring it forth.”

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