Illinois Gov. Defends Misdemeanors for Businesses That Open Early

Gov. and multimillionaire J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) is defending his decision to punish his state’s small business owners.

Their sin? Having the audacity to want to reopen their businesses as soon as possible. (Washington Examiner)

The governor filed an emergency rule which potentially could charge businesses with Class A misdemeanors if they open for business before they are allowed under his five-phase reopening plan. Under state law, the violation is punishable by a fine from $75 to up to $2,500 and would require a court appearance.

During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Pritzker said the violation would not be used to punish individuals.

“This rule can only impact a business and not individuals and is a response to only a select type of violation,” he said. “This can’t be used to regulate individual conduct like not wearing a face covering.”

Previously, the governor indicated that businesses violating the stay-at-home order could face liability issues with insurance companies. He also said his administration would consider revoking state licenses from businesses that opened early, and could also withhold federal funds from counties that did the same.