Health guidelines will continue to guide how business in Illinois opens back up amid COVID-19.
That was one of the main takeaways from Michael Negron, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, who spoke Wednesday about the Land of Lincoln’s partial reopening this Friday.
That happened during a virtual conference hosted by the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.
Negron pointed to contact tracing of coronavirus patients as well as daily testing as efforts that need to continue as business begins to return in the state. Starting Friday, barbers and their customers will have to wear face masks, restaurants will be able to serve patrons outdoors only with a cap on parties of six people who are spaced out 6 feet apart.
Illinois officials are relaying information to business owners at the same time as the public.
“I think this is as much guidelines for business, but we also want people to be able to see that this is what they’re being asked to do. And ideally, that encourages folks to get out and know that if I go to this restaurant, or I go to retail, I see people wear masks” and social distancing, Negron said.
That goes toward ensuring consumer confidence so that customers do return when doors are opened back up, a key element of economic recovery for the region, and nation.
Paul Rumler, CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber, had previously asked the governors of Iowa and Illinois to allow the Quad-Cities economy to reopen at the same time. While that hasn’t happened, the businesses reopening in Illinois this Friday mirror at least some of what reopened in Iowa two weeks ago.
The Chamber continues to advocate for the reopening of the local economy, Rumler said recently.
“As impacted Illinois businesses look forward to the (Friday) reopening, the Chamber asks the state to provide clear guidelines to companies for robust, yet manageable, health protections," Rumler said. "Doing so helps balance businesses reopening in a safe manner while also protecting the health of their employees and customers they serve.”
Programs, such as grant funding, continue to be rolled out to assist impacted businesses. Negron pointed to a bill that was passed by legislators in Springfield in recent days that will ultimately be signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker that will provide more funding options for applicable businesses.
State officials are also working on determining how events at hotels, such as weddings or business meetings, work amid coronavirus. Those events could begin to take place toward the end of June if coronavirus health trends remain steady or drop from their current levels.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has a website with information about Friday’s business reopening with more details at https://dceocovid19resources.com/assets/Restore-Illinois/businesstoolkits/all.pdf.
Concerned about COVID-19?
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.