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Question of the day

Monday, Aug 3, 2020

* The governor was asked several times today about a fine for not wearing masks. He said locals should consider doing it

In May, Pritzker asked a bipartisan legislative rule-making panel to consider a controversial rule change that would have businesses face a misdemeanor criminal charge, punishable by a $2,500 fine or 364 days in jail, for opening in violation of his stay-at-home order.

Amid complaints the penalties in that emergency rule proposal were too harsh, and when it appeared the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules may have been poised to block it, Pritzker backed off.

Pritzker on Monday said his administration is exploring another rule related to mask wearing.

“I asked JCAR to consider a rule that would impose fines when people are not requiring masks to be worn. They didn’t want to do that, they wanted to consider legislation and then didn’t bring up that legislation,” Pritzker said Monday of the four-day special General Assembly session in May. “We certainly are considering what rule we could put in place that JCAR would approve.”

The problem, of course, is that any new rule has to be based on state law, and the law currently imposes a misdemeanor, not a lower-level punishment like a business offense. As we’ve already discussed, the rule he submitted in May was also poorly drafted. Maybe he could just tighten it up and resubmit it. But because the GA didn’t act, the new rule would still have to include a misdemeanor penalty, which means a successful prosecution of a business for not requiring masks could include jail time if a state’s attorney and a judge ever agreed to go that far.

* The Question: Should the governor revamp and resubmit his emergency rule? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…


find bike trails

…Adding… An example of the local enforcement Pritzker was talking about today

Inspectors from the Sangamon County Department of Public Health cited two restaurants over the weekend for employees not wearing face coverings.

Chatham Café, 414 N. Main St., and The Main Gate Bar & Grill, 2143 N. 11th St., were each fined $250 for first-time violations, said director Gail O’Neill Monday.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

49 Comments
  1. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    I voted no because it would be impossible to fairly enforce this.

    I wish people would do this without threat of fines or penalties, but some of us are entirely too selfish to care about anyone else.

    And that’s the real crime.


  2. - Lt Guv - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    As much as my gut wants a “green” vote, my head thinks 47th Ward hit it on the head. Therefore, “red vote.”


  3. - Nick - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 2:50 pm:

    I want to say if you look at seat belt laws as an example, enforcement, including the risk of a fine, was instrumental in getting compliance nearer 100 percent.

    I would be worried about enforcement only targeting certain communities, and I think the lack of clear guidance is an issue to (do you wear a mask by yourself on the sidewalk, but not sitting down to eat in a restaurant?). But some sort of enforcement mechanism would help.


  4. - RNUG - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    I voted no.

    If the Gov wants this, call a special session of the GA and get them to act. The GA has been ducking their responsibility … probably a deliberate delaying action by the GA until after the general election.


  5. - BobCL - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    Couriousily is seatbelt compliance percentage of drivers after years of enforcement.


  6. - Just Curious - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    Voted no. No proof that masks guard against exposure.


  7. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    Just Curious, the mask is for preventing the spread of the virus to others if you unknowingly have it. Not to prevent you from getting it. 5 months into this thing, you should know that by now.


  8. - Back to Work - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    Voted no, and 47th and RNUG took my reasonings.


  9. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:03 pm:

    I voted yes. Let him revise it and revamp it just to have it ready if necessary. If a business just put and out refuses to try to enforce masks I think they are being punishment upon themselves. I think there should be a component that subjects a patron for fine too. I feel sorry for business that have to deal with people who claim they have a right not to wear a mask and behave badly and or threaten a store employee. I an realize that is already a crime.


  10. - Chatham Resident - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:04 pm:

    Yes, provided that businesses promise to at least give a warning to a non-mask wearing customer about the mask requirement and that there will be local fines for non-compliance. Before requiring a fine.


  11. - Nuke the Whales - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    ==- Just Curious - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 2:58 pm:
    Voted no. No proof that masks guard against exposure.==

    Voted yes because of comments like this.


  12. - BilboSwaggins - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    The problem is even if local communities want to pass these kinds of fines, in many cases they are afraid to because of the uncertainty around the language of the EO. This has been a running problem in Des Plaines over the last week, where the city council and mayor had to come up with an expansion in the local mask order in response to Torben Sondergard’s cult setting up their tent revival. Residents were furious because these guys were not only gathering in hundreds every evening with no masks, no social distancing, etc, but they were doing the same while proselytizing at Park District locations, stores, and pharmacies.

    Religious organizations being exempted from the order make it even more complicated. Des Plaines was able to issue an order that encompassed them, but the problem with exempting any religious organization is you aren’t just exempting people’s local Churches, Synagogues, and Mosques. Anyone registered as a 501c can come into your city or village and host super spreading events, and there’s nothing you can do.


  13. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    ==No proof that masks guard against exposure.==

    Umm, yeah, there is. I’m sure you’re one of the goofballs who doesn’t wear a mask.

    As to the question, I voted yes if for no other reason than I’d like to see punishment against the people who are causing this pandemic to remain out of control.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:10 pm:

    For me it’s “You’ve changed my mind, but you didn’t change my vote”

    It’s “Yes” to the honesty of what needs to and should be done, but my vote stays at “No”

    Law enforcement to these issues is a tough thing to evenly manage in enforcement.

    If the GA would like to take this up, then actively, not passively, they should all reconvene.

    That’s likely not happening until Veto, so not reasons it’s a “No”, but believe it could/should be “Yes”


  15. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    I voted yes, but I think Ow raises some very good concerns about my yes vote.

    I will say this, though,

    If they’re really weighing negative political consequences at this point, the question really should be were the folks who are going to be upset about mask requirements going to vote for the Governor in the first place?

    So many of us have been failed by our local governments.


  16. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    Chicago has been ordering business shutdowns for repeat employee mask wearing violaters. And like others have said, it’s easy and tempting to have a sanction in terms of a fine, but we all know there won’t be equal enforcement


  17. - Enviro - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    Masks save lives. Seat belts save lives. Voted yes.


  18. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:15 pm:

    Change the law to allow mask wearers to squirt vinegar in the face of non mask wearers. Instead of assault it would be self defense. Squirt guns would be protected by the 2nd Amendment.


  19. - Club J - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:19 pm:

    I voted yes. I think we are at that crossroads where we have restaurant and bar owners putting out messages saying this is what the rules are for everyone to follow. The the tag line says it’s not our rule it’s the Governor’s so there doesn’t seem to be any ownership.

    I think we are past the time of a slap on the wrist.. Until we can get this under control something needs to change. I don’t say this for just restaurants and bars, but all businesses. I walked in a gas station to get ice and I was the only masked man besides the employee.

    It’s this or we are back to Phase 3.


  20. - 1st Ward - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:21 pm:

    Voted no. The low wage employees of the businesses are responsible for this if you fine the business. Too many examples of the employee being put in a bad situation due to people not following.

    I don’t see how individual enforcement is effective given you only have to wear one outside if you can’t maintain distance. Too arbitrary. Businesses are going to call the cops on people in their stores not wearing? I doubt it. Cops are going to patrol said stores without being asked? Can’t do that.


  21. - lake county democrat - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    I voted yes AND favor calling in the A.G.

    Don’t bleat on about how this virus is so deadly and worth all the jobs being lost if you’re going to just shrug and wag your finger about the only two things known to control its spread. The CDC itself says the crisis could be under control in 6-8 weeks everyone wore masks.


  22. - Mama - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    I voted yes because what is happening now is not working. But - A year in jail is way to much. Start with a month in jail for the first offense, 3 months for the second offense and 6 months for the third offense. A year for each offense after that.
    Fine each person not wearing a mask a $100 for the first offense. $500 for the second offense and a $1,000 for the third offense.


  23. - Iowa City - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:35 pm:

    Voted No. How about the House and Senate reconvene and do something. I agree with masks but am tired of all these governors using executive authority, while representatives sit around doing nothing.


  24. - Mama - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:35 pm:

    Some people say they have panic attacks and others state other health reasons why they cannot wear a mask.

    How would businesses and the legislature solve the problem of people who say they can’t wear a mask due to a health issue?


  25. - TNR - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:40 pm:

    I’m not sure that the administrative rule making process is the right place to legally enforce restrictions on the personal behavior of individuals. That should require a statutory change. However, it would be appropriate to require state licensed businesses (which are largely governed by administrative rules) to provide services only to customers who are wearing masks. This would cover bars, restaurants, salons, etc. — all places where community spread is likely. It would create a lot of work for state regulatory agencies, but I think it’s the best Pritzker can do absent legislative action and would avoid the unpleasantness of police action.


  26. - Mama - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:42 pm:

    What happens when one is eating or drinking in a bar or restaurant? You cannot drink or eat while you wear a mask. Could a people drinking or eating be fined for not wearing a mask?


  27. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    ==How would businesses and the legislature solve the problem of people who say they can’t wear a mask due to a health issue?==

    Most, if not all, businesses offer curbside pick up. If you can’t wear a mask do that.


  28. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    Voted Yes due to extraordinary circumstances…but appreciate O.W.’s comments… otherwise.

    Thumbs Up to Bull Moose.


  29. - anon - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:01 pm:

    The hand wringing over enforcement is mind boggling. We could throw out the entire Criminal and Municipal codes under those exact same arguments. As well as all of the very comprehensive business licensing restrictions. Stop pandering to the selfish just because they will bleat.


  30. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:04 pm:

    Voted Yes for two reasons. One, I think it’s needed. Two, I think it might fail, at which point the Governor could publicize the specific Republicans who voted against it and what the current case growth rate is in their legislative districts


  31. - Bruce (no not him) - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:10 pm:

    Voted yes, but realize enforcement likely unpossible.


  32. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:19 pm:

    Anyone but me that wears glasses and the mask thing fogs them.over? Solutions?


  33. - cermak_rd - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:40 pm:

    Voted no because of enforcement but I find the vinegar approach interesting.


  34. - northsider (the original) - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:41 pm:

    Voted yes. First, it’s the right thing to do. Second, people are acting like it’s just going to stay at this level or slightly higher. Continued refusal to do this slight thing is seeding this virus and it’s going to get much much worse. Whatever can be done to get people to be decent needs to be done.


  35. - theCardinal - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:46 pm:

    No, let Local DPHs do it. They have established relationships and can close them down if need be. Healath compliance inspections can be tedious and take time that owners might not want deal with.


  36. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 4:53 pm:

    I voted yes. I’d also say the Governor should try to use his emergency powers to implement the fines if JCAR keeps being uncooperative. The GA has really not been doing much since March, and it is really a shame they couldn’t take care of this.


  37. - Just Wondering - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 5:03 pm:

    I was watching the news last night and they reporter was at a local bar showing how they follow the rules wearing masks and social distancing. Then they showed the extra masks for those without a mask just thrown in a beer bucket. So people can just reach in and grab their own. My first thought was there’s a germ pit.


  38. - Mama - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 5:03 pm:

    ==Anyone but me that wears glasses and the mask thing fogs them.over? Solutions? ==

    Make sure the top of the mask will fit under the nose piece of your glasses. When you put the mask under the nose piece the glasses stop fogging up.


  39. - lake county democrat - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 5:05 pm:

    For those saying there’s no evidence masks slow COVID spread: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31142-9/fulltext


  40. - Beecher - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 5:06 pm:

    Voted yes - sad that employers can’t be forced to protect their employees by allowing customers without masks in their business.


  41. - M - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 5:11 pm:

    I voted yes because I am sick and tired of going into stores and people are still not wearing masks or not wearing them correctly. My mom and I went to a store with very clear signage about wearing a mask. There were clearly marked one way signs on the floor(seriously you couldn’t miss them). People were not following them. There were several customers walking around with the mask below their nose (seriously?) and one woman had taken off her mask so she could talk on the phone. There was an employee right by her who did not say anything. We left shortly after because we were uncomfortable but this will also make me reconsider going into other stores.

    Stores have no backup for people not wearing masks. They need some type of support that will actually get people to wear one. I understand reminding people but for the people that refuse, they should be fined. The economy is going to struggle until people feel safe going out of their house.

    (As for the exemption for people with disabilities, we require people needing handicap parking spots to need a tag, why can’t we require a lanyard tag that must be clearly visible for you to walk around without a mask.)


  42. - ajjacksson - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 5:23 pm:

    While I may disagree on other Covid related issues, I’m convinced that we should be wearing masks. I don’t know exactly how it would be evenly enforced–and even if it was, the climate for police is such that we shouldn’t make them the “bad guys” for enforcing it. I vote no–but I don’t understand why people won’t wear a mask. I don’t like it either, but it’s for the good of all.


  43. - JS Mill - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 6:02 pm:

    Voted “Yes” because the current practice isn’t working.

    =No proof that masks guard against exposure.=

    I always wondered why those dumb doctors have been wearing masks during surgery for the last century./snark


  44. - CEA - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 9:30 pm:

    It’s been a while since I’ve been in the Capitol, but at one time weren’t there a bunch of people who would get together in a couple of big fancy rooms and make speeches and cast votes and pass laws and stuff? It those people are still around, this might be a good time for them to get involved rather than expecting the Governor to singlehandedly run the state by executive order.


  45. - RNUG - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 9:59 pm:

    == Anyone but me that wears glasses and the mask thing fogs them.over? Solutions? ==

    Tape to your skin on the top edge is supposed to stop that. I haven’t tried it because I still have a lot of old paper N95’s with the moldable metal strip that makes it seal tightly when properly bent.


  46. - RNUG - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 10:03 pm:

    Just to clarify my 2:53pm comment … I think people should be using masks; I just think the Governor and mayors are on shaky legal ground making up fines and other enforcement actions. I think the GA needs to clarify the various actions that are allowed under an emergency declaration.


  47. - Downstate - Monday, Aug 3, 20 @ 10:20 pm:

    The GA has done nothing and will do nothing. The vast majority of local mayors are doing nothing. There is zero leadership from the GA, Mayors or County level leaders. They don’t want to make local bar and restaurant owners mad. Until this changes, the cycle will repeat.


  48. - Captain Obvious - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 8:03 am:

    FYI Chatham Cafe says they have received no such citation. Maybe you should check out these stories before you post them.


  49. - Elliott Ness - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 8:13 am:

    Voted no- GA needs to clean this up. Madigan likely does not want anyone in town during his little “problem”…but, it has always been about Madigan and he will not reconvene until veto. Sad story of Illinois inability to govern continues


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