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Pritzker again defends his emergency rule on masks

Monday, Aug 10, 2020

* Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker was joined by several medical experts Sunday afternoon to urge Illinoisans to mask up and help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

At a news conference at Northwestern’s Prentice Hospital, Pritzker called mask requirements and physical distancing during a pandemic “common sense,” noting the majority of Americans support a mask mandate, and that health professionals with whom he has spoken all count masking and distancing among the most effective ways to slow the virus’s spread.

“In the last few months, research has evolved from the early days of the coronavirus, when it was shown that wearing masks protected others you’re with,” Pritzker said. “Now, study after study after study has shown us that if you wear a mask, it protects you too.”

* Sun-Times

Pritzker said having rules requiring masks and proper social distancing makes “common sense.” But his new rule changes were met with some opposition.

The Illinois Retail Association on Friday issued a statement, saying Pritzker should focus on the customers who refuse to wear a mask rather than “demonize innocent businesses.” In the political realm, Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin on Friday called on Pritzker to “abandon his mask rule” and work with legislature on the issue.

On Sunday, Pritzker said a public health crisis shouldn’t be politicized.

“The worst possible outcome for public health right now is to turn this into political football,” he said. “There’s an unfortunate tendency in our politics these days to dig in your heels in a debate — but our actions in a public health crisis should be inspired not by elected officials, but by the scientists and doctors and researchers who know this stuff firsthand.”

* NBC 5

Pritzker’s comments come as the state continues to face an increase in coronavirus cases, with nearly 1,400 more cases reported Sunday alone. The state’s 7-day rolling positivity rate currently sits at 4.1%, which is significantly lower than it was at the peak of the pandemic, but is much higher than it was at the metric’s low-point in June.

The governor says that the new rules on enforcement actions are designed not to punish violators, but to encourage them to adhere to rules that many businesses and individuals are following across the state.

“We’re doing this for the businesses that are following the rules while their competitors flout them,” he said. “We’re doing this for the people who have to work in the stores where their bosses won’t enforce public health rules, thereby putting their lives and health at risk.”

* Some press releases issued yesterday. From Illinois State Medical Society President Robert W. Panton…

I was proud to stand with Governor Pritzker today to demonstrate the Illinois State Medical Society’s support for widespread public mask use. It is incredibly important that Illinoisans take mask use seriously. Our state can’t bring any semblance of normal back if our COVID-19 infection rates continue to increase. Illinois is in real danger of a major setback and the likely reintroduction of more restrictions. Businesses will suffer because the economy will continue to struggle if the pandemic is not contained. Not to mention the unnecessary suffering and deaths that this virus brings with it.

The simple action of mask use will make a huge difference. To those of you wearing masks and social distancing. Good job! To those of you choosing not to wear a face covering, listen to your doctor. Wear a mask.

* A.J. Wilhelmi, President & CEO of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association…

The Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) and the hospital community strongly support the Governor and IDPH in taking this decisive action – based on public health and science – to protect Illinoisans against a rapidly spreading, deadly pandemic. Numerous studies demonstrate that face coverings are highly effective in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, which is critically important now as communities across the state are seeing troubling increases in new COVID-19 cases. We respectfully urge the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to allow the emergency rules on face coverings to move forward to help ensure the health and safety of students and teachers, employees and customers, healthcare professionals who are on the frontlines providing lifesaving care, and our loved ones and neighbors.

* George N. Miller, board member of the Illinois Association of Safety Net Community Hospitals (ASNCH) and President and CEO of The Loretto Hospital…

As safety-net hospitals, we have seen firsthand the devastating effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on some of the vulnerable communities in our state, disproportionately affecting low-income and minority populations. The toll this pandemic has taken on safety net healthcare providers has never been more evident, exhausting what limited resources and scarce reserves they have to help provide care and services to an overwhelming number of patients. The time has come and passed for there to be policies put in place to help protect people from further exposure and provide consequences for those who knowingly disregard them, putting everyone around them at risk.

We stand in support of the governor’s proposed rules requiring face coverings for businesses, schools, and childcare providers. It is up to our elected leaders to make the decisions needed to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and while they are never easy, they are now more than necessary. Black and brown communities have unfairly suffered the brunt of this pandemic since the beginning, with a loss of life and economic activity that will take years to recover from. These proposed rules are a more than reasonable step to help lower the transmission of this virus and ultimately help halt the pandemic that has devastated the communities we serve.

* Illinois Public Health Association…

On behalf of the 88 certified local health departments our association represents, we stand in support of these emergency rules proposed by the governor to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the public. The last few days have shown an alarming increase of COVID-19 cases, and it’s clear that in order to protect the safety and wellness of our communities, something must be done to enforce the needed precautions to help save lives. Leadership in these uncertain times requires tough decisions that are rooted in fact and science to help slow the spread of this pandemic, and those who knowingly put others at risk of exposure must be held accountable.

These proposed rules allow for multiple opportunities and flexibility to help businesses and others come into compliance. As frontline defenders of the public’s health, we have a responsibility to support initiatives that are proven to help prevent the spread of this virus, and we believe these proposed rules are a measured and necessary step to reduce future transmission of coronavirus and ultimately save many lives across our state. It is incumbent on all of us to do our part to keep Illinois citizens safe. We implore the public to voluntarily comply with these emergency rules in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.

* Chicago is not a member of the state public health association, but the city’s public health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, released this statement yesterday…

Wearing masks and practicing proper social distancing are absolutely vital to containing the spread of this virus. We have seen a recent uptick in cases so need everyone to continue to follow this and other health guidance as the response to COVID-19 continues.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    === … Durkin on Friday called on Pritzker to “abandon his mask rule” and work with legislature on the issue. ===

    Durkin has certainly abandoned any responsibility for protecting the health of Illinois citizens. He’s carrying on with his party’s effort to make hamper COVID response to try and salvage it’s electoral chances. What Durkin wants is a chance to engage in political grandstanding under the auspices of a legislative session. He has nothing positive to offer in the response to this pandemic. Durkin and his party’s politicization of COVID response should be rewarded with a complete rejection at the ballot box.

  2. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    Upticks are deadly.

  3. - Dublin - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:18 am:

    On the same day that Gov Pritzker tells Trump to “work with Congress”, he continues to run Illinois entirely on executive orders and emergency rules. Why bother with passing laws when you can go it alone?

  4. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:20 am:

    Telling people to wear masks without any way to punish those who won’t doesn’t work. This gives businesses the right to tell the maskless to leave and to have them escorted from the building of they won’t.

  5. - truthteller - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    downstate Illi-bamans fight for the right to infect,

  6. - Club J - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:48 am:

    === … Durkin on Friday called on Pritzker to “abandon his mask rule” and work with legislature on the issue. ===

    It must be a Republican thing to make the Coronavirus about politics. This morning JCAR member Tom Demmer was on the radio saying how SB 471 should be brought before the legislature so it can be properly voted on. Or the Governor should withdraw it like he did last time he had rules before JCAR.
    We’ve got Bailey and his Watchdogs running an email campaign to JCAR to vote against any type of mask rule. Plus DeVore did a Facebook live after the Governor’s press conference yesterday to give his point of view. I’ve not been able to stomach it yet.

    I keep masks next to my truck keys, extras in my truck, my wife made me a little bottle of hand sanitizer for my pocket. So when I do go out it’s all right there. It’s a pretty simple concept with a big reward. Am I missing something here?

  7. - Streator Curmudgeon - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:52 am:

    Once again, What about churches?

    Is that too hot of a potato for Pritzker to touch?

  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:55 am:

    ===Once again, What about churches?===

    Once again, what’s your point?

  9. - DownSouth - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    ==SB 471 should be brought before the legislature== I am a bit confused by this. Is it that he wants the bill brought back? Doesn’t like the outcome so it wasn’t properly voted for? What have I missed here?

  10. - Club J - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 11:11 am:

    It’s on the agenda for JCAR tomorrow.

  11. - Bruce (no not him) - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    “But his new rule changes were met with some opposition.”
    I am still dumbfounded that public health has become a political issue. keeping yourself and others healthy should always be bi-partisan.

  12. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    ==Why bother with passing laws when you can go it alone?==

    Passing laws is the General Assembly’s role. And they have chosen to abdicate that role during this pandemic. Every single Governor in the country is operating similar to Governor Pritzker.

  13. - Langhorne - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    === …focus on the customers who refuse to wear a mask rather than “demonize innocent businesses.” In the political realm, Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin on Friday called on Pritzker to “abandon his mask rule” …===

    Business owners are the focus of enforcement because they are the ones who have the privilege of operating a business at retail in the state of Illinois, under various licenses.

    Business owners are the focal point of all sorts of enforcement – – smoking, sanitation, food safety, underage drinking, fighting, Gambling, drugs, hours of operation, tax collection, etc., etc. This is unpopular, but no different.

    Abandon the mask rule – – unbelievably stupid. Leader Durkin, did you just get back from Sturgis? Darren Bailey got you running scared? Or is it that your minority isn’t small enough yet? You only need a couple of buckets of chicken for a caucus meeting as it is.

  14. - Streator Curmudgeon - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 12:40 pm:

    My point, Rich, is that the mask mandate should apply to all group gatherings, with no exceptions.

    Yes, I know some people consider mandatory masks in churches an infringement on freedom of religion, but that’s a specious argument. Nobody’s telling them they can’t meet, just that everyone needs to wear a mask.

    I’m not against churches or church services at all, but we’ve already seen cases in which church meetings have led to transmission of the virus. There’s no guaranteed immunity in any type of group gathering.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    Interesting work in Newsweek and the Italian Health Minister’s take on the American response;

    === Don’t they care about their health?” a mask-clad Patrizia Antonini asked the Associated Press about Americans as she walked with friends along Lake Bracciano, north of Rome. “They need to take our precautions … They need a real lockdown.”

    “We Italians always saw America as a model,” said Massimo Franco, columnist with daily Corriere della Sera newspaper. “But with this virus we’ve discovered a country that is very fragile, with bad infrastructure and a public health system that is nonexistent.”

    Doctors throughout Italy, where the virus killed more than 35,000 people and ravaged towns between late February and April, say the country’s strict nationwide lockdown was a major factor in beating back its spread. Additionally, Italian government officials on both the national and local levels worked primarily in lockstep as they conducted widespread testing, robust contact tracing and a slow process of reopening.

    “If you are in Florida and you hear your governor saying something, and then the governor in New York is saying the opposite, it’s really difficult. In Italy, it was just one voice,” said Dr. Roberto Cosentini, head of an emergency medicine unit at the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, Italy, as reported by NBC News.===

    Masks as a local response, masks should’ve been a national imperative, led by medical experts, and after 8 weeks of a national type lockdown with masks, re-evaluate.

    I’m old enough to remember when “we don’t want to be Italy” was a thing.

    Italy can’t believe how America has failed her people.

    The Governor is on point. Wear a mask, or face the music.

  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    =The Governor is on point. Wear a mask, or face the music.=

    That’s not what his filed rule says. It in fact says the exact opposite. Repeatedly.

    “No individual shall be held responsible for compliance with this rule…”

    I will even provide you with the sections 690.50 (d)(1)(C), 690.50 (d)(1)(D)(ii), 690.50 (d)(2).

  17. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 1:22 pm:

    === “We’re doing this for the businesses that are following the rules while their competitors flout them,” he said. “We’re doing this for the people who have to work in the stores where their bosses won’t enforce public health rules, thereby putting their lives and health at risk.”===

    The Governor is on point. Wear a mask, or face the music.

    The businesses can decide if they want to face the music.

  18. - GotIt - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    OW then indeed it is not wear a mask or face the music. It is wear mask or someone else will face the music. Got it.

    Nice reverse course. You are doing spectacular work. Keep it up.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 1:42 pm:

    - GotIt -


    If your business decides that employees and customers need no masks, they should face the music.

    All I hear “we need to open”

    Then one business decides no masks, others follow wear a mask.

    Wear the mask or face the music.

    No shoes, no shirt… don’t they close joints for ignoring that?

  20. - GotIt - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    =No shoes, no shirt… don’t they close joints for ignoring that?=

    Stay on topic buddy. But to answer your question, No. Rich even posted about it:

    Keep uo.

  21. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    ==It is wear mask or someone else will face the music==

    No, it’s if a business can’t or won’t enforce the rules then they face the music. It’s their responsibility to ensure the rules are being followed and if they can’t they should be punished accordingly. If someone won’t wear a mask then they can’t come into the business. It’s that simple. If a business can’t handle that then they should face the music.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 1:57 pm:

    - GotIt -

    I’m on topic. I had my take. You don’t like it.

    I’ll try to keep “ou”…

    === The shoe requirement is a myth. The Society for Barefoot Living sent letters to every state health department in the country a few years ago to confirm it. The Illinois Department of Public Health’s 2017 response is here. Illinois has no shoe-wearing requirement.===

    … and yet, businesses still *choose* to enforce it, or at least have the signs, but you already know it.

    As I keep “ou” why a business feels the need to have such an unsafe work environment or endanger customers… and still have “no shoes, no shirt” signs is a head scratcher.

    But, please, “open the state”?

  23. - GotIt - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 2:07 pm:

    = it’s if a business can’t or won’t enforce the rules=
    =It’s their responsibility to ensure the rules are being followed=

    No. Businesses are not given enforcement powers or an “enforcement entity” as defined in the rule.

    According to the rule: all local boards of health, health authorities and officers, police officers, sheriffs, and all other officers and employees of the State or any locality, including the Department and certified local health departments under 20 ILCS 2310/15, (“enforcing entities”), shall enforce the rules and regulations so adopted and orders issued by the Department.

    You can find the language at 690.50 (d) of the filed rule.

  24. - SSL - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 2:30 pm:

    I don’t understand the reluctance to wear a mask. Just do it already.

    I am happily puzzled by the relatively low number of deaths we continue to see daily. I know there’s a lag between the spike in reported cases and deaths, but we have seen higher positive results for awhile now. Is anyone tracking the demographics of those that test positive? Is it that a higher percentage of those testing positive are less likely to suffer severe symptoms? I apologize if this was answered elsewhere.

    Without increasing deaths I suspect people will be less likely to follow JB’s mask mandate. Not saying that’s right, just saying.

  25. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    ==Businesses are not given enforcement powers ==

    A business can deny entry to persons not wearing a mask. They don’t need any special authority to do that genius.

  26. - 4 percent - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 5:44 pm:

    Anonymous is exactly correct. The Governor’s mask mandate requires INDIVIDUALS to wear masks but the rule specifically says they won’t be penalized.

    Fine individuals for not wearing masks. Oops - he doesn’t want to offend voters.

  27. - Club J - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 7:23 pm:

    This seems a little strange to me. I wonder if DeVore has a list of all the businesses he represents across the State? It’s seems like a threat.

  28. - Daily - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:05 pm:

    OW - check the mortality rates in countries like Italy and the UK that have socialized medicine and report your findings

  29. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 10, 20 @ 10:07 pm:

    ===check the mortality rates===

    With coronavirus?

    That’s what’s at play here.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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