It’s been nearly a year since Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued his first “stay-at-home” order, without any input from the co-equal legislative branch. State Senator Terri Bryant has vocally called for increased transparency from the Pritzker Administration, including releasing the data that the Governor has used to make his decisions. The Senate Republican Caucus has also continued to urge the Governor to involve the members of the Legislature in making decisions that involve nearly every aspect of Illinoisans’ daily lives. Instead, Gov. Pritzker has chosen to operate unilaterally through 76 individual Executive Orders.
So far, the state’s COVID-19 response efforts have been marked with controversy, inconsistent standards for different regions, an unemployment benefit system that remains broken, and relatively poor performance for the vaccination program.
Under the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan, Illinois would not be allowed to resume normal operations until: “Either a vaccine is developed to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, a treatment option is readily available that ensures health care capacity is no longer a concern, or there are no new cases over a sustained period.”
While those conditions would appear to be met, with COVID-19 positivity rates continuing to decline, and vaccination numbers and hospital capacity continuing to quickly rise, the Governor still hasn’t released any details on how the state can move forward toward Phase 5 and some sense of normalcy.
Senator Bryant is urging the Governor to work with lawmakers, healthcare stakeholders, and employers to develop a plan to ramp up the reopening process. Many businesses and events require significant advanced planning, which still can’t happen with no clear path in place.