McHenry County Prosecutors say they will not enforce an Illinois government executive order, JB Pritzker, that closes indoor dining amid rising coronavirus numbers and raises questions about the “legitimacy” of the governor’s actions.
In a press release, the SAI said it could not “confidently enforce” indoor eating rules implemented across the state as part of a nationwide series of coronavirus measures aimed at curbing new infections and hospitalizations.
“The legitimacy of the governor, who has been in” emergency powers “for the last ten months, could easily have been answered by Illinois lawmakers (but they) have yet to examine or legislate one of the most important problems the state has ever faced,” said the office in a statement, “Rather, the governor has made it his business to unilaterally pass ‘laws’ by order of the executive that drastically affect the daily life and constitutional rights of every Illinois resident, and then those laws execute.
“This is a dangerous combination in a constitutional republic,” the office added.
The courts have largely sided with the governor in lawsuits filed over various damage controls. Courts in McHenry, DuPage and Cook counties denied restraining orders when restaurants filed lawsuits over the governor’s plan to stop indoor dining in October.
In another ruling from a Kane County case, an appeals court ruled that Pritzker was given multiple disaster statements under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency law. That decision was made after a Kane County judge gave a restaurant a TRO to obtain an injunction that allowed them to continue indoor service after the new abatement rules were announced.
In response to the McHenry County’s announcement, Pritzker warned that non-compliance with the state’s health mandates could lead to more coronavirus infections, and urged officials to reconsider decisions about non-enforcement of state mandates.
“I would hope that court officials like prosecutors obey Illinois state law and do the right thing because people get sick,” he said during a news conference Wednesday. “If you don’t do the right thing, more people will get sick.”
The McHenry County Attorney’s Office announced that it will enforce restrictions on business occupancy and those requiring masks in businesses “lawfully promulgated” by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The news release also warned business owners that regulatory violations could have consequences for the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Attorney General, the Liquor Control Commission, and the State Gaming Board.
Pritzker and other public health officials have warned of potential ramifications for companies that choose to stay open despite government mandates, stating that licenses could be drawn in these cases. These officials have stated that they would prefer other enforcement mechanisms before taking this final step.