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Central Illinois mayors react to state’s Region 2 mitigation rules

(WEEK) -- Several mayors throughout central Illinois have responded to the governor's office and state health department's move to place additional mitigations on Region 2 after it reported three consecutive days of a COVID-19 positivity rate above 8 percent.

The rulings put in place would ban indoor dining, limit the hours bars can operate outdoor service and reduces the size of social gatherings starting Wednesday, Nov. 4.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said he will follow the guidelines set forth by the Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health, saying, "No mayor in the state has the authority to override the governor's executive order unless the court decides otherwise."

"We shouldn't give businesses a false sense of security that the State won't come in and enforce the Governor's EO and potentially revoke their liquor and gaming licenses," Ardis' statement read.

His full statement can be read here:

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said he would not be enforcing the state's rules.

"Other than informing the health dept. or urging people to practice safe distancing and to make sure as much as possible that we don't spread COVID, we're not enforcing the states rules and regulations right now," said Renner.

Normal Mayor Chris Koos said he has heard from both sides of the issue and that there is no single method that will be "widely supported" and that he will be taking a "multi-pronged approach."

"I do not necessarily agree with how these mitigation decisions were made, and we want local businesses to survive and continue to be a strong part of our economy," Koos said.

His full statement can be read here:

Meanwhile, Bartonville Mayor Leon Ricca posted his statement to the village's police department's Facebook page Monday night saying he would not enforce the orders unless required to by a court order or directive from the Peoria County state's attorney's office.

"I also advise all business owners who operate in opposition of the governor's mandate to consult with their own legal counsel," said Ricca in the statement.

Morton Mayor Jeff Kaufman at the village board's Monday meeting said they will not be enforcing the measures since no mechanisms are in place to do so.

"Because the state law does not provide the village of Morton the mechanism to do so, the village of Morton will not be actively enforcing the new measures set to go into effect Nov. 4," Kaufman said. "We encourage our local businesses to be mindful of the mandates of the Tazewell County Health Department and for those who operate under state issued licenses..."

Kaufman then said the outdoor dining and drinking measures will remain in effect and said there will be no more declarations by the mayor of Morton.

Drew Veskauf

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