* As I told you last week, the Pritzker administration asked the 2nd District Appellate Court to “publish” its opinion on the Fox Fire restaurant case upholding the IDPH mitigation rules. Publishing the case would make the decision legal precedent.
Well, on late Friday the court did just that. Click here for the published decision.
More background is here if you need it.
* Meanwhile, from a recent Decatur Herald & Review editorial…
There’s scant evidence that open restaurants have led to any of the increases in COVID-19 positives.
Um, from a Wall Street Journal article…
Researchers from Stanford University and Northwestern University have used the mobile-phone data of 98 million Americans to model how the virus spread during the first wave of Covid-19 in the spring.
The study, published in journal Nature this past week, showed that restaurants, gyms, hotels, cafes and religious organizations carried the biggest risk of spreading infections.
* On to the Illinois Municipal League. I’m not sure why they’re complaining about lack of help with enforcement. Do they ask for state assistance to deal with shoplifters, too? Just enforce the law. How difficult is that to do?…
The Illinois Municipal League (IML) is calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Administration to convene a working group comprised of mayors and other local officials to better coordinate coronavirus response efforts at the community level as cases surge across Illinois.
Since April, mayors across Illinois have repeatedly asked to be included in the process of developing mitigations and enforcement measures. A lack of communication from the state as well as little support in enforcing mitigation measures has frustrated mayors who are seeking to protect their communities but have been met with resistance. A more collaborative approach will help ensure the state is better informed of local issues caused by the pandemic, including challenges related to mitigation compliance, and will help promote a more effective community-level response by ensuring local officials are apprised of the latest data driving mitigation efforts.
“We have consistently advised all municipal leaders to abide by health guidelines issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, there is a clear need for additional collaboration,” said Brad Cole, IML Executive Director. “The governor has called for an ‘All-in’ approach to address this crisis yet has rebuffed requests to work hand in hand with local officials to implement solutions that protect our residents. Simply blaming mayors for rising cases does nothing to address the underlying issues preventing more effective mitigation results, including distrust of state mandates among residents and the need for state and county enforcement of mitigation measures. It is time for the state to work together with mayors, not just point fingers at them, to stem this rising tide.”
Most cities, towns and villages have a limited set of tools when it comes to implementing coronavirus mitigation measures. For instance, they have no control over food licenses. It falls on the individual county public health departments to revoke an establishment’s food license for failing to abide by mitigation measures. And county state’s attorneys have the sole authority to prosecute violations of state laws and orders.
Further, many mayors are limited in their enforcement authority because they oversee non-home rule communities, where they are only able to put in place measures specifically allowed by state statute. There are 1,081 non-home rule communities in Illinois, compared to 217 home rule communities, which have more discretion to set their own stricter regulations or impose those outlined in the governor’s executive orders.
While mayors have been told by the state to refer enforcement issues to the county public health departments or state police, there has been little follow up by those entities. This has led to uneven compliance across our cities, villages and towns where some individuals and businesses are abiding by mitigation efforts, but others are blatantly disregarding state and local orders while facing no consequences. Confusion over how data is analyzed by the state has also made it difficult for mayors to explain to residents why additional mitigation efforts are required and why they are only applied to certain professions or specific aspects of the service economy.
“These sorts of inconsistencies have caused some residents to question all mitigation efforts, making it even more difficult for local officials to receive compliance with safety regulations,” said IML President Ricky J. Gottman, mayor of Vandalia. “We will keep asking our residents and businesses to comply with state mandates, but we must work together to put in place effective mitigation strategies to protect our communities and the wellbeing of everyone across the state.”
Um, one big reason why there is “distrust of state mandates among residents” is because so many local officials constantly scoff at the state. Before he caved to reality, Springfield’s mayor was confidently saying that the IDPH mitigations wouldn’t work, without citing a single source.
Also, I’ve asked about this non Home Rule bit. Can’t they just enforce state law?
* Sangamon County is finally taking action instead of belly-aching…
Sangamon County Public Health officials have suspended the food permits of five Springfield-area restaurants for defying pandemic restrictions and continuing indoor service.
A Sangamon County spokesman told WAND News the action was taken against Charlie Parkers, D&J Cafe, Fox Run, Sweet Basil Cafe and Casa Real.
WAND News learned from county officials that three of the businesses, D&J Cafe, Sweet Basil Cafe and Fox Run, were cited Friday. All received citations for allowing indoor dining.
Each business was fined $500.
…Adding… Contrast that whiny can’t-do IML statement with this one from the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus…
The 275 Member Mayors of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus called upon residents and businesses today to commit to some common sense steps to help the Chicago region flatten the COVID-19 curve for the second time.
Acknowledging the need to combat the exponential increases in COVID cases across Chicagoland and the State in recent weeks, regional Mayors ask area residents and businesses to take the following actions for at least the next three weeks or until the rate of infection consistently declines:
• Continue to comply with regulations to wear face coverings whenever you are indoors at a public place or outdoors encountering people outside of your immediate household. The Center for Disease Control reinforced the importance of facemasks last week, saying they protect both the wearer and individuals they may encounter;
• When leaving home, continue to practice social distancing by always staying 6-feet apart from others;
• Continue to wash hands or use hand sanitizer often. Avoid touching surfaces frequently touched by others and keep your hands off your face;
• Consider limiting trips outside your home to going to work, attending school, and obtaining vital goods and services, such as medical care, food, or household essentials;
• Limit gatherings to no more than 10 persons – and remember it is safest to only associate with members of your own household;
• If possible, avoid all non-essential travel.
Most of the requested actions are strategies recommended to residents since the pandemic began. These strategies are still on the regional Mayors’ recommendation list because of their history of successfully reducing coronavirus transmission. Newer recommended actions such as limiting trips and gatherings are consistent with those proposed by area public health officials. While each of our 275 member municipalities is unique, they all agree that it is critically important that we come together in the days and weeks ahead to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Endorsing these strategies is one of the most coherent methods for dealing with the current increase of positivity results
“We are at a critical point in the fight against the pandemic. This second wave requires serious attention from all of us,” said Mayor Joseph Tamburino, Mayor of the Village of Hillside. “Everyone needs to step up right now to bend the curve downward, save lives and help our businesses remain open or in some cases, to re-open.”
“These are common sense actions that we strongly urge all residents to take,” said Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering. “It is incumbent upon each of us to take personal responsibility to stop the spread of this virus. The sooner everyone consistently follows these steps, the better chance we have of reducing the rate of infection, keeping our local economies going and avoiding a complete shut-down.”