Elburn president urges Pritzker to allow village businesses to reopen

Letter to governor posted on village's Facebook page

ELBURN – Elburn Village President Jeff Walter wrote a letter to Gov. JB Pritzker to request that he allow the village to reopen businesses sooner than the Restore Illinois plan would allow. Elburn falls in the Northeast Region of the plan, which includes the city of Chicago and Cook County.

In the letter, Walter argues that Elburn is closer to DeKalb, which is in the North Central Region, than to Chicago. The North Central Region is on track to move to Phase 3 at the end of May, based on current metrics of positive test rate, and the availability of positive test rate, hospital bed, ICU bed and ventilator availability.

"The positivity rate of Elburn is less than 10% and increases in positivity have been small," Walter stated in the letter. "Being part of the Northeast Region will unnecessarily delay the move to the next phase for Elburn, which, given the numbers, is not only unnecessary but also unacceptable to the people of Elburn. Resident phone calls, emails, texts and personal contacts have consistently been in favor of opening Elburn based on our numbers and not Chicago’s."

Walter stated that the loss of income for local businesses is having a "devastating" effect. He argues that several national retail establishments were allowed to remain open during the stay-at-home order, and wants smaller businesses to have the same opportunity.

"Our local businesses including gyms, barbershops, hairstylists, local retail, and even bars and restaurants, should have the same opportunity, and choice, to open or remain closed," he stated. "The impact of these closures to the businesses, the residents and to the municipalities in not just the loss of income, but for many people, the loss of their livelihood and a loss of a lifetime worth of effort building their businesses. The impact of the closure is devastating, and many businesses may not recover, causing further financial difficulties for the state, for municipalities and for the citizens of Illinois."

Walter also expressed concern about the legality of the Executive Order, asking for more protection for municipalities against potential lawsuits, should the municipalities enforce the order.

"The direction you have given is that local municipalities should enforce your Executive Orders," he wrote. "The Illinois Municipal League, representing its membership, has asked you and the Illinois Legislature to codify the Public Duty Rule, which would provide a safety net for municipalities against any litigation or future action that might result from your Executive Orders. To date you and the legislature have not taken any action to protect municipalities against locally filed complaints nor have you offered any protection against federal actions ... many towns, including Elburn, are not assuming the liability for the state and are not enforcing the order."

Walter concludes the letter by asking the governor to revise the Restore Illinois plan and allow the village to begin the process of reopening its businesses.