Metro East lawmakers ask Pritzker to lift restrictions

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  • Five state lawmakers, all Democrats, are calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to loosen COVID-19 restrictions in the region. The area is the last to prohibit indoor dining under the state’s COVID-19 regulations.

    Five state lawmakers, all Democrats, are calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to loosen COVID-19 restrictions in the region. The area is the last to prohibit indoor dining under the state’s COVID-19 regulations.

    Photo: File Photo

Five state lawmakers, all Democrats, are calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to loosen COVID-19 restrictions in the region. The area is the last to prohibit indoor dining under the state’s COVID-19 regulations.

Five state lawmakers, all Democrats, are calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to loosen COVID-19 restrictions in the region. The area is the last to prohibit indoor dining under the state’s COVID-19 regulations.

Photo: File Photo

Metro East lawmakers ask Pritzker to lift restrictions

GLEN CARBON — Five lawmakers are asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker to move the Metro East to the next level of the Restore Illinois COVID-19 plan.

Currently, only Region 4, containing Madison County and six other counties, is not allowed to offer indoor dining at bars and restaurants.

On Thursday, state Sens. Rachelle Crowe, D-Glen Carbon, and Christopher Belt, D-Centreville, were joined by state Reps. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville; Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea; and LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, in delivering a letter to Pritzker urging him to move the Metro East to the next tier which would allow restaurants and bars to reopen for indoor dining at a limited capacity and school sports practices to resume.

“After months of uncertainty, financial distress and the devastating loss of many lives, a vaccine for COVID-19 provides some light at the end of the tunnel,” they said in a released statement. “We have been able to maintain a declining number of cases of COVID-19, however, our region remains the only in the state of Illinois to not move forward to Tier 1 mitigation efforts.

“As of today, our region has met two out of the three required criteria to move forward a tier – including both a lower positivity rate of COVID-19 and hospitalizations,” they said. “However, our region remains to be held back due to the number of available ICU beds – despite that number not being truly reflective of the actual situation for our region.

The lawmakers said that, as a border region in one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, residents use hospitals and healthcare providers on both sides of the river, particularly in St. Louis. There are many more hospital beds available regionally than reflected in the count of beds when limited to just Illinois, they said.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and employ our family, friends and neighbors,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote to Pritzker, who also is a Democrat. “It is unfair to business owners, employees and local residents to remain in a tier of mitigation efforts based on a number that does not accurately show the whole picture of our communities and the availability of healthcare resources that exist regionally.”

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January 28, 2021 at 08:06PM

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