Graphic Syverson included in email newsletter noting 2.3% COVID due to restaurants
ROCKFORD – Rockford State Senator Dave Syverson reported in a newsletter last week that he and several other area lawmakers wrote Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ezike, challenging imposed restrictions on the state's COVID Region 1 on behalf of business owners in his district.
From Senator Syverson's email newsletter:
As you are aware, on September 29, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that Region 1, which includes Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, DeKalb, Lee, Jo Daviess, Carroll and Whiteside counties, were to be subjected to additional COVID-19 mitigations. These restrictions include preventing bars and restaurants from having indoor service and requiring outdoor service to close at 11:00 P.M.
These mitigations are negatively impacting owners who have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of their patrons and have no reported COVID-19 cases. Hardworking men and women are still recovering from the damage done by the original statewide shutdown. Under these new mitigations, Illinois' government is threatening livelihoods of our local, small businesses, and all without due process. How can this be allowed? The answer, sadly, has more to do with politics than safety in my opinion.
The decision made by IDPH and Governor Pritzker was hasty with virtually no local input. Furthermore, despite our continued demand for answers and calls for compromise, IDPH has yet to indicate that they are willing to work with local lawmakers.
Last week, I joined with nine of my fellow senators and representatives to issue a letter to the Director of IDPH, Dr. Ezike, asking that the Department delay restrictions to allow time to thoroughly review the evidence and discuss other potential mitigation options to reduce positivity numbers in our region.
It is undeniable that the COVID-19 health crisis should be taken seriously. Our focus should be on protecting those most at risk, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Yet, IDPH has completely taken the focus off protecting those most vulnerable, deciding to punish our business owners and their employees instead. IDPH’s own data shows that restaurants and bars are not one of the major causes of the spread of COVID-19. So why are they being targeted?
We cannot sit silently as science is ignored and numbers are overlooked in favor of arbitrary rules based on methodology which lacks transparency. If the government can do this to one group of people today, what's stopping them from doing it to another in the future?
I will continue to push for answers for those in my district, urging the Governor and IDPH to recognize the lasting damage being done to our communities.