The Ford County Board passed a resolution Monday night that supports reopening county nonessential businesses sooner than the governor’s plan.
The resolution states that business owners “should be given the opportunity to re-open their businesses, should they choose to do so, under modifications to protect the health and safety of patrons, employees, and the general public.”
The resolution passed unanimously though Dr. Bernadette Ray voted present and two other board members were absent. The resolution includes additional text to state that places of worship should be allowed the same opportunity to reopen. And other language was inserted to have businesses discuss reopening plans with the Illinois Department of Health and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, as a way to calm the county’s insurance provider.
Lana Sample, administrator of the Ford County Public Health Department, said she doesn’t have the authority to approve any kind of reopening plan. Instead she has documents and guidance to provide to businesses and will communicate back and forth with them.
Board member Cindy Ihrke wanted to make it clear that no business has to go to the health department for permission to open. And other board members want business owners to be sure their own insurance is in place and anyone subject to licensure by a state agency such as the liquor commission or the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation best heed the governor’s orders.
Sheriff Mark Doran said he can’t promise to be hands off if there are clear problems with big crowds and insufficient safety measures. Sample said she does have authority to close a business if there is danger of public infection.