By Mark Weyermuller -
As states around the country begin to open up, Illinois appears to be stuck in a COVID shutdown that may never end. This week, neighboring states Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa all began opening what Illinois' governor deems "non-essential" businesses – including bars, dine-in restaurants, small retail shops, gyms, nail salons, and hair stylists.
Yet similar businesses in Illinois remain closed.
There are now frequent rallies, protests and a growing number of lawsuits with the hope of getting Pritzker to reopen Illinois. This past weekend saw two large rallies – one at the State Capitol in Springfield and another at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.
A Facebook group with over 35,000 followers called “Reopen Illinois” was one of the organizers, along with many grassroot groups. One of main speakers in Chicago was Matthew Erich “Mancow” Muller, a Chicago shock jock. Other speakers included Illinois GOP chairman Tim Schneider, Will County GOP Chairman George Pearson, a Republican committeeman and Amy Jacobson, a radio host on WIND 560-AM.
A general theme was “All jobs are essential.” Not mentioned in mainstream media was the large number of people questioning forced vaccines, tracking, and contact tracing. There were a number of President Donald Trump signs and flags, yet most of the signs were messages about reopening the state.
I personally saw no “hate speech” signs while taking over 100 photographs.
As with any rally or protest there were a number of different issues being brought up.
There appears be growing opposition to Governor J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot and their handling of the COVID crisis. With warmer weather this week more people will be going outside and may result in more confrontations with police. Some say the negative health effects of staying inside and isolated may be doing more harm than good. The original 14-day stay at home and quarantine order went into effect around March 17. The goal posts continue to be moved with no concise plan of ending the shutdown.
The so-called essential businesses have remained open, including grocery stores, Walmarts, Costcos, Home Depots, Menards, Walgreens, CVS, car washes, dry cleaners, pawn shops, bike stores, carry out food, liquor stores, vape stores, abortion clinics and cannabis stores.
Golf and tennis reopened last week, with many instructions – such as no golf carts. In tennis, only singles is allowed and players are supposed to follow a number of other guidelines. It’s unclear if masks are required.
Remaining closed are dine in restaurants, furniture stores, offices, bars, fitness centers, nail salons, clothing stores, shoe stores, music studios, day cares, schools, summer camps, public pools, Chicago harbors, barbers, hair stylists, small business, and churches.
Some ask why is a grocery store safe and a church is not?
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot continues to use 300 Chicago Police Officers and 200 traffic aides to close the Chicago Lakefront, bike trails and beaches – now off limits to healthy joggers, bikers, fishermen, boaters, and dog walkers. Some want these officers reassigned to neighborhoods and perhaps to help at nursing homes where over half the COVID 19 deaths are occurring.
There have been 961 people shot with 194 homicides this year in Chicago according to heyjackass.com, an independent crime reporting source.
Many are saying with precautions, social distancing, and masks, the state should reopen today.
Nobody knows what will happen next in Illinois. Stay tuned.
Mark Weyermuller is a small business person, real estate professional, and conservative activist in Chicago. He is a citizen journalist, frequent guest on talk radio, and regular contributor to Illinois Review.