Illinois coronavirus: DuPage County mayors ask governor for extended stay-at-home order exemption to reopen businesses

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A coalition of mayors from DuPage County have written a letter to Governor JB Pritzker asking to be exempted from the extended stay-at-home order and reopen businesses.

There's a skeleton crew staffing the chef-owned restaurant Allegory In Naperville, running the place on bare bones.

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"Sales are down 75 to 80 percent depending on the week," said chef and owner Chris Mason.

They've kept the burners lit and the doors somewhat open through the unsteady pace of curbside pickup. But it's not nearly enough.

"We've been devastated to the point where this is not a solvent business model," Mason said. "It's not how it was supposed to be."

Pick any store on the cozy streets of downtown Naperville, and that's likely the case there too.

"They are begging, just pleading for help right now," said Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. "People who have worked their whole life, and everything they own is at risk now."

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It's the same in Oak Brook, where a sprawling mall sits lifeless.

"When these large outlets are open and they sell everything, why can't the smaller shops start opening?" said Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, Village President of Oak Brook. "I have not found any adequate explanation from anybody."

Desperate to bring some traffic back to their streets and stores, a team of DuPage County mayors are asking the governor for an exemption.

"We are experiencing COVID at a different pace than Chicago and we don't want to be following the same rules as a city," said Chirico. "We would like to use our influence with the governor, and based on data, based on data and science, to get him to start allowing our businesses to begin opening up."

The extended stay at home order keeps people off the streets and most businesses shuttered until May 30, but that could be too late.

DuPage County's reopening proposal is phased, and includes masks and strict six-foot social distancing measures that means far fewer customers. They hope the governor will hear their plea."

"Businesses need to be open. We need to be alive again," said Lalmalani. "As long as it's safe."
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