Lee and Ogle County officials submit four phase re-opening plan to governor’s office


LEE COUNTY — Officials from Ogle and Lee Counties have submitted re-opening plans to Governor Pritzker’s Office, thanks to assistance from State Representative Tom Demmer.  

The plan includes detailed criteria for local businesses that have been deemed ‘non-essential’ by the Governor’s executive order to re-open.  The group is anxiously awaiting a response.

The plan, crafted in collaboration with elected officials, public health administrators and hospital representatives from both counties outlines specific measures local businesses would take to re-open.  Legal advisors for the public entities in the region advise against re-opening outside the parameters of the Governor’s executive order due to the legal and financial consequences.  Therefore, the two-county group wishes to work alongside the Governor and his staff to come to an agreeable solution.  

Representatives are also reaching out to the Illinois Municipal League’s Director, Brad Cole, to engage in conversations regarding modifications to the re-opening guidelines.  The Illinois Municipal League serves as an advocate for all municipalities throughout the State and has been engaged with the Governor’s office since early on in this crisis.

“A successful re-opening plan should be based on local data, and have the input of local health department officials and community leaders,” Said Illinois State Representative Tom Demmer. “We will continue to advocate for those principles to the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health.”

The plan begins with a Phase 0, which includes determining levels of personal protective equipment in local businesses and asks each proprietor to plan for social distancing and mitigation including employee monitoring and customer tracking.  This phase also includes metrics for testing symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.  

In Phase I, small businesses are allowed to re-open at 25 percent capacity based on fire codes.   Following a two to three week evaluation period, the counties would move into Phase II which allows for gatherings of 10 or less for social interaction.  These gatherings would require face masks and documentation of attendees.  

Phase III then allows for youth sports, restaurant seating and considers re-opening of health clubs.  

Finally, in Phase IV, all entities are re-opened under normal conditions.

In a joint statement, Ogle & Lee County Health Department Administrators affirm support of the plan. “We want to partner with local business to create a reasonable plan to protect business operators, employees and patrons. We will need to continue prevention and mitigation strategies as we move to reopen. We ask that everyone operates in a reasonable and responsible manner as we navigate this process.”

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