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Architects abandon alternative reopening plan

Friday, May 29, 2020


Two weeks ago Peoria leaders introduced the Restore Heart of Illinois plan, made up of 11 counties in Central Illinois with the goal of reopening more quickly than the state wide plan allowed.

Now with phase three of the state plan, Restore Illinois, starting Friday those same leaders are now saying the Governor’s plan takes the lead.

Peoria officials said when they started working on their Restore HOI plan there was no guidance from the state. But now the Peoria Health Department said a lot has changed.

“As this moved forward and we were waiting for responses and then there was different executive orders and different discussions about insurance liabilities, professional regulations as well as even administrative code updates we never want to put any of our entities in a situation where they had to determine about their liability and risk and safe practices.” said Administrator Monica Hendrickson

She said much of Restore HOI has now merged with the Governor’s plan or includes compromises, such as the outdoor seating for food establishments.

“What Restore HOI initially did was to create that guidance. Since then restore Illinois provided guidance just this weekend and upon comparison we recognized that a lot of our feedback was actually implemented and so from a local health department perspective we are following restore Illinois.”

* Peoria Public Radio

[Peoria City/County Health Department Admnistrator Monica Hendrickson] said the Restore HOI plan has now “merged” with the governor’s plan.

“I think people want to say Restore HOI was a failure or whatnot,” she said. “But really, it was a way for us to provide guidance and get people to think about what it was going to be like to reopen, as well as to help advocate and support our state entities as they were moving into a very much new phase of this pandemic, which was to start reopening and releasing restrictions.”


After nearly two hours of discussion, McLean County Board members voted 12-8 Thursday night to table a resolution to implement the Restore Heart of Illinois plan.

No date was set to take up the plan again.

Earlier in the day, Peoria County Administrator Scott Sorrell confirmed at a press briefing that Peoria, which developed the plan as an alternative to the state’s Restore Illinois plan, would not be bringing it to its own county board for consideration.

In fact, none of the other 10 counties included in the regional reopening plan has chosen to implement it.

McLean County Board Member Carlo Robustelli made the motion to table the vote. “The plan author has abandoned their plan,” he said. “A regional plan without the region all buying in and adopting it makes it impossible to do the regional metrics that have been laid out in it.”

* Pantagraph

[McLean County] Board members opposed implementing the Heart of Illinois Plan pointed to a letter from and a statement by McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight, who said, “The health department does not have the capacity to fulfill our role in the implementation.” […]

Of seven public comments read into the record, only two supported implementation of the Heart of Illinois Plan.

In addition, Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner sent a letter to the board opposing immediate implementation of the plan. In his letter, Renner wrote, “I urge you to be prudent and wait until further plans are properly vetted and to operate within the framework established by Governor Pritzker.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:48 am:

    There was always ONE plan.


    The rest is the foolish, who now… see… here’s how this will play out… “keep up”

    See… now if anything goes south, higher infections, or worse, these same fools… will blame the Governor… and ignore their own calls for “open”

    It was never about being open, “rights”, even jobs…

    It was always about posturing, forcing, and then allowing blame, if there is any… to go back to the Governor.

    So.. in that… they were quite successful… by posturing… then waiting until the 29th to claim “victory”… by following the governor’s plan anyway.

  2. - don the legend - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:53 am:

    Lead, follow or get out of the way.

  3. - Homebody - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    So Peoria pols get to claim they did something, while the governor’s plan still just follows the same basic CDC guidance that has existed for weeks. Everyone wins?

  4. - Rabid - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:57 am:

    Showboating in Peoria has been canceled

  5. - Hot chocolate - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:59 am:

    But what about…freedom from tyranny?

  6. - Precinct Captain - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:00 am:

    Enthusiasm curbed

  7. - RuralKing - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    But the governor’s plan DID change….he “allowed” bars and restaurants to open outside seating. This was NOT in the original phase 3 plan. So I would say these alternative plans were somewhat effective in moving JB’s position

  8. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:19 am:

    The idea of Restore HOI largely failed because most of the 11 counties were not even consulted. They were informed of the plans, but did not have any input or even asked if they wanted to be included in the plan. They could have galvanized local leaders, but instead, confused them.

  9. - ITEngineer - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:07 am:

    The Governor has been quite clear that the plans were always moving targets as data became available and has been vocal about wanting people to voice their needs, with reasons, so they could be considered. The children posturing in public didn’t sway this one bit it was the adults having reasonable discussions behind the scenes providing good data/reasons combined with those working to curb the spread of the virus that allowed this to happen.

  10. - Just Me 2 - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:23 am:

    All that huffing and puffing to just say, “The Governor’s plan works for us,” was a huge distraction nobody needed.

  11. - @misterjayem - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    “I would say these alternative plans were somewhat effective in moving JB’s position”

    And the rooster is somewhat effective in making the sun rise.

    – MrJM

  12. - Stu - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    I would say Sam Toia gets the credit for JB’s adjustments, not any of these alternate plans.

  13. - Nick - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    It seems like finally getting to June 1st, and allowing some bars/restaurants to reopen for outdoor service, really took the wind out of opponents sails.

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