Chicago protesters demand reopening of Illinois businesses on 2nd weekend of new stay-at-home order

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker is no longer holding weekend COVID-19 briefings at Chicago's Thompson Center, but protesters are still showing up to try to get his attention.

Dozens of people gathered outside the Thompson Center Saturday, calling for the governor to reopen Illinois.

"I think Pritzker is acting like a tyrant," said Joliet resident Melissa Pointer. "I think he is taking away our constitutional rights, and I am calling him to stand down."

Joliet resident Brandon Sulkar said, "There is no point for this to keep going on, for small businesses to be closed."

The protesters point to the toll the stay-at- home order is having on the state's workforce.

"I was a remote worker in the IT world. I was just furloughed yesterday after 22 years of being in the company," said Palos Heights resident Vicki Finegan.

Pointer said she's behind on her bills.

"I can't get a job. I am in IT. Everyone in my field is being furloughed," she said.

They said Pritzker should follow the lead of other states that are easing restrictions.

"Let's look at Governor DeSantis in Florida. Let's look at Governor Reynolds in Iowa. Let's try to emulate the system that we have, so we can get going now before this turns into something really bad," said St. Charles resident Dave Tomek.

Supporters of the stay-at-home order drove by with signs Saturday, focusing on economic relief and the consequences of reopening the state too soon. But demonstrators said they are also concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

"I do want people to take precautions and be safe," Joliet resident Teresa Chiletz said. "I just want to see the economy back up and running and people get back to work and feed their families."

"What we're fighting for, what we want is for our leaders to have a balance," Tomek said.

Demonstrators said all retail stores should be allowed to reopen. They said they trust the residents of Illinois to take the necessary precautions to stay safe.
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