Illinois Will Classify Defying Stay-At-Home Orders As Misdemeanor For Businesses

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker authorized an emergency rule that calls for a fine or jail time for business owners who defy the state’s pandemic induced stay-at-home orders.

What Happened

On Friday, Pritzker’s office instated a rule that would classify defying the state’s stay-at-home orders as a Class A misdemeanor. A violation could be penalized by up to a year in jail or a maximum $2,500 fine, reported the New York Times.

The Illinois rule would apply to businesses such as restaurants, gyms and barbershops. A spokesperson for the governor told the Times that the gubernatorial measure was an “additional enforcement tool for businesses that refuse to comply with the most critical aspects of the stay-at-home order.”

Why It Matters

This measure has put the governor’s office at odds with the state’s conservative lawmakers.

Republican Senator Dan McConchie, tweeted, “The new emergency rule [by governor Pritzker] that makes it a crime to violate his executive orders is an affront to the separation of powers. Legislatures make laws. Governors enforce them. Period.”

Business owners have been arrested in Texas and Colorado for violations of state and county orders asking businesses to remain shut. In the adjacent state of Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court struck down a stay-at-home extension order. The court sided with the state’s Republican lawmakers, reported the Times.

Tesla Inc. TSLA CEO Elon Musk opened his Fremont, California factory in defiance of stay-at-home orders imposed by Alameda county last week in a similar confrontation with authorities. 

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, as of Sunday, there are 94,191 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 4,177 deaths reported.

Posted In: Covid-19IllinoisSmall BusinessesThe New York TimesGovernmentNewsHealth CarePoliticsLegalGeneral