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City Will Fine Businesses For Reopening Ahead Of Schedule

By Colby Smith

City Will Fine Businesses For Reopening Ahead Of Schedule

Violations could result in fines between $75 — $2500.

While Chicagoans may be slightly dismayed at Lightfoot’s recent statement that the city will not move into Phase 3 May 29 — after having been granted permission by state — Chicago business owners ought to be advised that reopening too soon could result in a hefty fine.

Last week, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that every region in the state was on track to move into Phase 3 at its earliest possible date, May 29. Furthermore, due to the success of the stay-at-home measures, and after speaking with certain public health officials, Pritzker granted permission for bars and restaurants to open up for outdoor dining on May 29.

Transition to Phase 3 would also allow for the reopening of: “additional non-essential manufacturing and businesses, such as barbershops, salons, health and fitness clubs, and limited child care and summer programs in adherence to social distancing requirements.”

In his announcement, Pritzker gave local municipalities authority to not reopen on this date at their discretion. Days after making his announcement, Lightfoot declared that Chicago wouldn’t transition to Phase 3 of Pritzker’s plan on May 29, but instead would look for a time in early June.

“We don’t have a crystal ball, but we are looking daily at the data. And I can not give you a date certain on which our transition to Phase 3 will happen. The best I can say right now is we’re hoping, and we believe it will be, in early June,” the mayor said recently. 

Under Pritzker’s previous ruling, businesses reopening ahead of schedule would be subject to citations upward of $2,500.

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“We don’t want to have to pull licenses from people. We don’t want to have to shut a business down. What we really want is for people to comply and we want to give them this type of citation as an alternative,” the governor said.

The ruling gives local law enforcement the authority to issue and carry out fines to violates as a class A misdemeanor charge. In addition to the fine, violators could also spend up to a year in jail.

[Featured image: @artificialphotography via Unsplash]