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New emergency rule could mean jail time for Stay-at-Home order violators

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Not following the rules of Gov. JB Pritzker's Stay-at-Home order could mean criminal charges.

According to the governor's office, a new emergency rule was filed Friday. It is meant to provide an additional enforcement tool for high-risk businesses like bars, restaurants, salons and gyms that refuse to comply.

"Under the rule, if local law enforcement or the ISP cannot get compliance from a business owner they can issue a citation to the business owner," said Pritzker's Press Secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh.

"Only businesses that pose a serious risk to public health and refuse to comply with health regulations would be issued a citation. The rule gives law enforcement a tool that may be more appropriate and less severe than closing the business altogether," she continued.

The new rule means any violators are subject to punishment under a current IDPH Act, that lists the offense as a Class A misdemeanor. That is the most serious misdemeanor, which could result in 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Rep. John Cabello of Machesney Park said he's fighting what he calls the criminalization of non-compliance with the health rules.

"The Constitution of the United States is under siege here in Illinois. We have a dictator governor who is weaponizing our Department of Public Health," said Cabello.

Cabello said this change of enforcement is up for a vote Wednesday in the General Assembly.

"We have a dictator governor who is weaponizing our Department of Public Health to treat our citizens like criminals," Cabbello added.

On Friday, two local sheriffs said they would not enforce the governor's Stay-at-Home order. Winnebago Co. Sheriff Gary Caruana and Ogle Co. Sheriff Brian VanVickle said it was not law and the order exceeds his authority as governor.

Kristin Crowley

Evening News Anchor
Kristin Crowley anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news. She is also a reporter for 13 Investigates. She brings more than a decade of experience to the newsroom. Her work at WREX has earned her multiple awards including a regional Edward R. Murrow for Investigative Journalism and three regional Emmys.

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