Officials listen to businesses, discuss ramifications of reopening early

With some neighboring counties considering the option of allowing small businesses to reopen, despite Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s executive orders, Randolph County Commissioner Ronnie White held a conference call on May 12 with local officials and businesses to discuss the matter.

White noted that he wanted to give people an update on what is going on, allow small business owners to express their concerns and state representatives to give perspectives.

Among the officials participating in the conversation were: Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker, Randolph County Health Department Administrator Angela Oathout, Randolph County EMA Administrator Mike Hoelscher, Randolph County Economic Development Coordinator Chris Martin, State Senator Paul Schimpf, State Representative Nathan Reitz, State Representative Terry Bryant, Red Bud Mayor Tim Lowry, Chester Mayor Tom Page, Sparta Mayor Jason Schlimme and Coulterville Police Chief Jason Schlesinger. 

Among the business owners participating were: Kayla Atkinson, owner of the Parlor on Market, Kathy Valleroy, owner of the Kutting Edge, Pam Ozier, owner of Healthy Hair Company, and Elizabeth Russell, owner of Southside Strength and Conditioning, all of Red Bud.

Walker kicked off the conversation with a legal perspective. He pointed out that each business or municipality should consult with their own attorneys, he could give perspective as the county’s attorney.

He added that he was not going to argue if the governor’s executive order was right, just the legal issues.

The biggest problem with the executive order is enforcement, and people are expected to voluntarily comply with it. However, if a business decides to open against the executive order and they hold a license approved and issued by the state (like salons or bars), they could lose that license. All it would take would be a complaint to the state board or commission that issued the license. 

For more from this conference call, please see this week’s print edition.