Illinois reopening: Suburban mayors pleased with new Restore Illinois health regions

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Friday, July 17, 2020
Suburban mayor pleased with new health regions in revised Restore Illinois plan
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Suburban mayors are pleased with Governor JB Pritzker's announcmeent that Illinois is now split into 11 health regions and not four in the Restore Illinois plan.

BURR RIDGE, Ill. (WLS) -- Suburban mayors are pleased with the 11 smaller health regions in the revised Restore Illinois plan Governor JB Pritzker announced Wednesday.

Each of the smaller regions can now independently fall back in their phase of the Restore Illinois plan based on several criteria. Chicago is its own region and the boundaries for the collar counties have been redrawn.

In Burr Ridge, the news was well-received as restaurants continue to struggle.

"We are still losing 50 percent of my business," said Gigi Rovito, owner of Capri Ristorante. "We're still losing every day. And also if we have a bad day, like we did yesterday, the rain scares people away, nobody wants to sit in a tent."

The mayor said the governor's decision was better late than never.

"I was very happy with that announcement, this is what should have been done, in my opinion, a long time ago. The 11 regions, it's much more fair, we wouldn't have had as many businesses, I think, go out of business or be as crippled as they are," said Mayor Gary Grasso.

The governor's new regions will not provide any immediate economic boost because it didn't change any restrictions, but it will mean COVID-19 accountability will be much more locally important. Masks and social distancing are a critical component.

"So we're checking. I can tell you this weekend, we'll have police officers out there doing compliance checks and necessary enforcement, because I don't want one bad operator to ruin it for all of the really responsible operators who are out here," said Steve Chirico, Naperville mayor.

In Aurora, the mayor has launched a new campaign to encourage people to wear masks to avoid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

"I wear a mask because I want to, and it's the right thing to do. I want to wear a mask to protect my family and my friends," said Mayor Richard Irvin, who tested positive for and recovered from COVID-19 earlier this year.

Thursday the governor encouraged everyone to be vigilant, and for bars and restaurants in particular to observe capacity limits to avoid spikes seen in other states that could force another shutdown either regionally or, worse, statewide.