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COVID-19 roundup

Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020

* October 30th

A McHenry County judge denied a temporary restraining order Friday filed by 37 local bars and restaurants to remain open despite the governor’s mitigation rules set to take effect Saturday.

* Last Wednesday

McHenry County’s top prosecutor announced Wednesday that his office will not enforce Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to ban indoor dining at restaurants.

State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally issued a statement that the Illinois Emergency Management Act, which gives the governor authority to issue executive orders, does not require or empower the state’s attorney to enforce the orders.

Kenneally also wrote that there is “the legitimate question” being litigated in court over whether the governor’s repeated orders are authorized by law. So far, while two trial courts have ruled that the orders were not lawful, two McHenry County judges, as well as appellate and federal courts, have upheld the orders on at least a preliminary basis.

Kenneally said he would continue to enforce legitimate mask and distancing orders, but chided lawmakers for failing to clarify the law on “one of the most important issues this State has ever faced.”

Um, if he had bothered to read the recent binding appellate decision, he’d know that the General Assembly passed three bills in May which reiterated the governor’s right to issue successive executive orders. But, you know, that would get in the way of doing his job, so he chose to remain ignorant.

* And there is a local problem

Through the Freedom of Information Act, CBS 2 obtained a list of dozens of McHenry County eateries that have violated rules.

Around the Clock allows indoor dining. At Niko’s Red Mill Tavern in Woodstock inspectors saw indoor dining, no social distancing, and employees and patrons not wearing face coverings. At DC Cobb’s in Woodstock some thing seen were patrons not wearing face masks, indoor dining and operation after 11 p.m.

These restaurants and eight more like them have been visited multiple times. Minimal improvements led to the cases being handed over to the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

* Meanwhile, Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder has finally seen the light

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is urging surrounding counties to enforce COVID-19 mitigations similar to what is in place in Springfield.

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health oversees Menard County’s public health department, as well, but they have announced Menard County will not enforce COVID-19 mitigations at this time.

Langfelder said the fight to slow down the spread of COVID-19 should be a community effort, and spikes in Menard County put stress on hospitals in Springfield. […]

Langfelder said he wants restrictions for all surrounding counties and admits this isn’t easy or popular, but believes it’s what is best for the local hospitals.

* Also

Three more Sangamon County restaurants were cited for violating COVID-19 mitigations.

According to the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, the three restaurants include:

    Route 66 Motorheads in Springfield
    Sky Lounge in Springfield
    IHOP on Sunrise Drive in Springfield

* Speaking of restaurants, this is from a Facebook post by the proprietors of Effingham’s Firefly Grill

Dear fireflies,

Here we are again, another crossroads, another terrible decision to face. Niall and I have had many sleepless nights these last few months as we try to find our way forward through this pandemic.

Bottom line is that firefly’s current model cannot stay solvent running only curbside. If we believed that the safety restrictions would be in place long-term, we would figure out how to adapt and reluctantly change our model.

I say reluctantly because serving people in person on our beautiful farm is what we truly love to do. Firefly isn’t a drive-through, it’s an experience. Our passion is connection, to each other, to our visitors, to our land and our community. Cooking food in an empty restaurant is demoralizing for our family and team.

If we believed these restrictions would be longer than the winter, we would find a different path, yet we believe that as soon as it is warm enough to serve outside, we will be able to open our doors once again. Until that time, we are forced to hibernate, and we will be closed.

This is a painful decision and very personal decision; our family is going through a lot right now.

Thanksgiving night, we received word that my stepfather, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 seven days previously, had taken a turn for the worse. This call informed us that hospice had begun to execute end of life protocols. We lost Greg this morning peacefully while my mother was holding his hand.

Whatever people’s personal beliefs are surrounding this disease, the pain and exhaustion our frontline workers and the families losing loved ones are experiencing cannot be denied. Right or wrong, out of respect for my mother, for all the families losing loved ones and for all of our heroes on the frontlines, we will continue to follow the protocols mandated to keep our communities safe.

We encourage everyone to do whatever they can to slow the spread of this disease.

Firefly and our team are grateful for the support of everyone buying gift cards online, we are using these funds to continue upgrades during our pause and literally CANNOT WAIT to serve you in person as soon as we can.

In support of the Huff, Campbell and Samuel Family dealing with the death of such a loving, kind and important member, in lieu of flowers, we have created a Greg Huff Memorial Scholarship for Buckeye Friends School. Donations can be made through the Buckeye website: http://buckeyefs.com/get-involved/donate/

We are grateful for your help, your patience, your understanding and support.

Kristie, Niall and Camden

* Contrast that with this one from the owner of the Fox Run restaurant in Springfield

The Rest of The Story:

Our local officials overreach of power may be the cause of Fox Run closing, but rest assured, they will never silence me. This isn’t just about Fox Run; this is about every Restaurant and Bar in our area. There are five individuals directly involved in the attack on Restaurants and Bars in Sangamon County. Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter, Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell, Mayor Jim Langfelder, Judge Raylene Grischow and Gail O’Neill of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health.

You ask why? What If the County Board Chairman were to have a pet project threatened by the Governor? The County Board Chairman controls the funds for the Sheriff’s Dept. and the Health Dept., that’s not hard to figure out, the Mayor acts like a puppet for the Governor and the Judge openly recognized that it was a valid argument that the Health Department was acting improperly, but she still let them get away with it.

Four of these five spineless individuals are elected by “We the People”. They do not deserve to be re-elected after trying to destroy Sangamon County’s economy. Let’s remember this on their election cycle. I will help remind you. And for Gail O’Neill, I hope you sleep well at night knowing that you are directly the cause of dozens of small business’s closing and hundreds of families going without a paycheck. But that’s alright, I’m sure there is a chair reserved for you at the head of the table in HELL.

He put up a GoFundMe with the goal of raising $100,000. It raised $485. Sounds about right. You’ll remember that he hosted Rep. Darren Bailey at his establishment in May.

* Tribune live blog headlines

Indiana’s COVID-19 deaths nearly double during November

Bipartisan group of lawmakers pitch $908 billion bill as Biden urges Congress to pass down payment on COVID-19 relief

Column: A parting love letter to City Lit, my favorite bookstore in Chicago, on its final day of business

Giving Tuesday and holiday donations can bring scammers; the pandemic makes it worse.

Esports arena for professional video game competitions planned for Chicago’s Near South Side

Evanston students auction time and talents to save Gyros Planet, a struggling restaurant feeding thousands of hungry families

Chicago officials shut down a 300-person party in Wicker Park over the weekend.

Vandals struck outdoor dining tents in Chicago’s West Loop.

Moderna to seek OK for emergency use of its coronavirus vaccine in US, Europe.

New Trier High School to consider expansion of in-person instruction, citing success of COVID-19 saliva screening program.

COVID-19 vaccines are coming. But first, a long and dark winter.

* Sun-Times live blog headlines

City shuts down 300-person party in Wicker Park, other businesses for ‘egregiously’ violating COVID-19 restrictions

Fauci warns Pritzker of ‘post-Thanksgiving surge’ — says it’s ‘no time to pull back’ from COVID-19 restrictions

Weekend drop in COVID-19 cases attributed to low number of tests reported over the holiday weekend.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart tests positive for coronavirus.

Chicago R&B artist Jeremih was reportedly transferred to a regular hospital room Saturday after spending at least a week in intensive care undergoing treatment for COVID-19.

The World Health Organization has recorded 65 cases of the coronavirus among staff based at its headquarters, including five people who worked on the premises and were in contact with one another.

Making the case for standardized school tests, even during a pandemic

* NBC Chicago live blog headlines

Chicago to Update Emergency Coronavirus Travel Order

Chicago Officials Shut Down 300-Person Party in Wicker Park

No Illinois Regions Will End Tier 3 Mitigations in the Next Few Weeks, Pritzker Says

Post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 Surge Could Overwhelm Illinois’ Health Care System

Investigations Underway After 28 Veterans Die in Coronavirus Outbreak at Illinois VA Home

- Posted by Rich Miller        

35 Comments
  1. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 1:51 pm:

    “And for Gail O’Neill, I hope you sleep well at night knowing that you are directly the cause of dozens of small business’s closing and hundreds of families going without a paycheck.”

    It’s the COVID 19 Pandemic, Pal…but you knew that…if you’re honest?


  2. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    “He put up a GoFundMe with the goal of raising $100,000. It raised $485. Sounds about right. You’ll remember that he hosted Rep. Darren Bailey at his establishment in May.” - Rich Miller

    Only proving the blustering Bloclovers don’t put much of their money where their mouths are, eh.


  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    === his office will not enforce Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to ban indoor dining at restaurants. ===

    At least it made it to his desk to make that decision. Here in Will county the health department is still claiming they don’t even have the responsibility of conducting health inspections to document those violating it.


  4. - Montrose - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:08 pm:

    I’ve always loved Firefly. I love them even more now and want to drive from Chicago to Effingham in the Spring just to eat there and support them.


  5. - Club J - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    Reading the post from the Firefly is so heartfelt from a family who not only lost a loved one, but has to put their business on hold. They made a tough decision that affected many people, but they put safety first and foremost. These are the business owners I’d reach out to in the future during a road trip.

    The owner of Fox Run flaunted his going against the Governor’s guidelines with Darren Bailey and Tom DeVore all over Facebook. Now that he’s lost in court and lost his food handlers license he’s crying it’s everyone else’s fault. To quote the greatest man I ever knew my Dad. “ Man up Keith and take responsibility for your actions”.


  6. - Jibba - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    People who predict the afterlife will find it much different than they imagined, I suspect. Endangering the lives of your fellow man is frowned upon, I recall.


  7. - Amalia - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    the cost to businesses and to jobs is terrible. worse is loss of life and permanent health effects. mask up. socially distance. wash your hands.


  8. - Techie - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    “…I hope you sleep well at night knowing that you are directly the cause of dozens of small business’s closing and hundreds of families going without a paycheck.”

    Hmm, it couldn’t possibly be that even without government restrictions, tons of people wouldn’t feel safe enough to go out and eat anyway, and many employees would lose their jobs and paychecks anyway, could it?

    It couldn’t possibly be that the problem lies in DC and Congress’ failure to pass meaningful stimulus measures like most other developed countries in the world have done?


  9. - The Ford Lawyer - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    The Firefly is a nice place. I truly hope they are able to come back and that they issue a standing disinvite to Darren Bailey. Within the past week, we’ve lost my brother’s father in law, and a friend of my own father in law to Covid. “This is all a hoax” is about to reach its sell-by date even in the bloc.


  10. - Only in 2020 - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    =These are the business owners I’d reach out to in the future during a road trip.=
    I’m going to order gift cards from Firefly’s website and visit in the spring.


  11. - Fly Creek - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    Restaurants in Taylorville, a short 25 miles down the road from Springfield, are open for indoor dining. Once this is all over, I’ll drive to Effingham for a dinner at Firefly Grill before I eat at any restaurant in my home town that is open and encouraging indoor dining in the middle of a pandemic.


  12. - Menardian - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:38 pm:

    Menard County Board couldn’t even bring itself to “encourage” people to wear face masks when asked to do so by the county health board. I shop in Springfield.


  13. - Why inside restaurants? - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    I’ve always meant to eat at Firefly but never made it down there. I hope to change that when the time comes.

    On that note: This is a serious, non-snarky question. I’m curious as to why so many people are choosing the “eat inside in restaurants” as the hill to die on. Not curbside, not delivery, not outside dining, but the feeling that if they can’t eat *inside* a restaurant, something critical is missing from their lives. I rarely eat in restaurants myself, so I don’t understand this longing.

    I’d be interested in hearing others’ thoughts on this. What about this makes it so important that people are literally willing to risk their lives for it? (Or if I missed an earlier discussion on this, please don’t hesitate to refer me back to it.)


  14. - Just Wondering - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    ==Meanwhile, Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder has finally seen the light…==

    When will Langfelder pressure the Governor and other statewides to allow any state employees who can work remotely, but are not permitted to do so now and still have to go to the office during the current stay-at-home advisory, to at least urge workers to work remotely at least on a part-time basis (perhaps half the week in office, half the week at home remotely)?


  15. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:47 pm:

    “something critical is missing from their lives”

    I see this as having multiple facets.

    A significant amount of people simply do not know how to cook for themselves, and rely on others serving them food for their daily routine.

    There’s also a facet of just not liking anything to change.

    Smaller, but not insignificant are alcoholics who are actually having panic attacks that the place that serves them alcohol is now prevented from doing it in person. They do ignore that carry-out alcohol is allowed of course.

    The strongest strain I have seen are the people who are able to see themselves as ‘being waited on’ and also unable to cook for themselves. Their weakness of not being able to provide for their own needs combined with the desire for someone else to serve them is a combination that leads to what we see as the most vocal attitudes of entitlement.

    It’s not the restrictions on indoor dining they are revolting against. It’s that it shows them their own personal failings, and any and all effort will be put into pushing that onto someone else. That’s why the pushback seems strange - to the outside world we see it as a strange thing to push back against, but from their internal point of view it is literally a preservation of ego and all the energy that goes into it.


  16. - GregN - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    Meanwhile in DuPage…
    There are 4 bars/restaurants within a 5 minute drive from me that have never closed. DPHD says they’ve been to at least 1 of them, yet it closed for 1 week in response. Reopened and stayed open since.
    The thoughtlessness of them, and the irresponsible patrons, will have me voting with my $$ when/if this is over.


  17. - It's not me . . . - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    @ Fly Creek - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:36 pm: Call your Congressman Rodney Davis. Kudos to Firefly.


  18. - Annoin' - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    Gotta wonder if the Fox Run mutt is that dumb…


  19. - Don't Bloc Me In - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:03 pm:

    Imagine living in a county where there’s some enforcement of the rules. Here in the Eastern Bloc, I haven’t heard of any attempt at enforcement. It’s possible to drive through one town with the jail/sheriff’s office on one side of the street, and the bar across the street wide open for business.


  20. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:13 pm:

    Good riddance Fox Run. And here’s hoping evety other business who has chosen to stay open in violation of the rules follows suit.


  21. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:15 pm:

    Well in defense of the Fox Run guy, he limited his use of ALL CAPS, which I am grateful for. I wonder if the $485 was from Bailey and DeVore?


  22. - Fav Human - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:15 pm:

    I personally have eaten at Around the Clock in CL within the past month.

    I wore a mask until after being seated and having ordered.

    Every employee I saw was masked.

    There are clear plastic barriers on three sides of all booths, that are at least 6 feet high.

    They did alternate booths, so that your booth didn’t have anyone opposite.


  23. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    =McHenry County’s top prosecutor announced Wednesday that his office will not enforce Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to ban indoor dining at restaurants.=

    So much for law and order.

    Next time I get caught in a speed trap up that way it is also good to know that I can challenge their enforcement as capricious and discriminatory.


  24. - Publius - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    @ JS Mill. If State’s Attorney won’t prosecute doesn’t that mean I challenge anything? Why stop there. Couldn’t a Grand Jury bring an indictment without the State’s Attorney?


  25. - Why inside restaurants? - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    Thanks, TheInvisibleMan. Most of those points hadn’t occurred to me, and your analysis makes sense.


  26. - Bigtwich - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    In Cabllo v. Pritzker, ND IL 3:20-cv-50169, State’s Attorney Kenneally asked for and received permission to file an Amici brief arguing the Governor had a 30 day limit to emergency orders. The case was terminated by the Plaintiff’s motion for voluntary dismissal on September 18, 2020.


  27. - Steve Rogers - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    –the Mayor acts like a puppet for the Governor–

    Um, what? Langfelder has been about 25 steps behind, figuring out what to do until the decision is forced upon him. I wouldn’t call that being a puppet, but whatever dude.


  28. - Ok - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    I have found it to be mostly the case that those that rely fully on the “experience” of visiting their restaurant in person, are simply acknowledging that their food isn’t good


  29. - Shark Sandwich - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    “I have found it to be mostly the case that those that rely fully on the “experience” of visiting their restaurant in person, are simply acknowledging that their food isn’t good” 

    Sometimes it’s both, though - the food and the ambience. I can go anywhere for a cheeseburger; I go to Chotchkie’s for the atmosphere and the attitude!


  30. - blue line - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 4:38 pm:

    this “we the people” line is become the trademark of the trump wing of the republican party. i see people losing their minds on social media and they throw this phrase around a lot.


  31. - Manchester - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 4:44 pm:

    As a resident of Springfield, after seeing the actions of the owner of Fox Run Restaurant and reading his recent post from above, I can truthfully say I am thrilled to see him go belly up. He deserved nothing more.


  32. - MyTwoCents - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 5:27 pm:

    Good riddance to Fox Run. I like to contrast that behavior with Cafe Moxo. Middle of the biggest challenge to the restaurant industry possibly ever and the owners of Cafe Moxo have run multiple free lunch giveaways. Cafe Moxo and Firefly are the types of restaurants that deserve everyone’s business.


  33. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 5:37 pm:

    “I can truthfully say I am glad to see him go belly”. Undoubtedly the words of someone who hasn’t missed a paycheck.


  34. - bungalowhistorians - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 8:40 pm:

    ===Undoubtedly the words of someone who hasn’t missed a paycheck.====
    The owner of Fox Run is not missing a paycheck. He is a retired Springfield firefighter and as such is receiving a pension from the very city he is now finding fault with. And he was not rank a file either. No sympathy here for him. Cafe Moxo and Firefly deserve kudos as do all of the medical professionals that are wearing down caring for everyone in this pandemic. We all have to do our part to get this under control as difficult as it may be for some.


  35. - The Dude - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 9:42 pm:

    I get where the Springfield Mayor is coming from even though I’m not a resident.

    Springfield has an excellent medical district but it shouldn’t be strained because some other areas don’t want to follow any rules.


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