Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) and Senator Don DeWitte (R-St. Charles) are calling for greater transparency about the data and science being used to make critical decisions that affect Illinois businesses.
"Many Illinoisans have invested their life savings into opening and operating their restaurants. They are cornerstones in their communities. Restaurants that barely survived being shut down in the spring, scraped by over the summer by adapting to the public health precautions we all support to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Brady.
Brady raised concerns about inconsistencies in the Administration's response to the pandemic and moving goalposts that are hurting Illinois restaurants. He notes the decisions being made about restaurants will force many to close their doors permanently, which will hurt the hard-working employees who work at these establishments.
When the Governor announced his five-phase Restore Illinois plan, restaurants were allowed to operate with a 50 percent capacity threshold in Phase Four. When mitigation plans were announced, Tier-One – the first step in mitigation – required restaurants to reduce indoor capacity to 25 percent, while Tier-Two would close indoor dining. When it came time to implement these mitigations, he completely skipped Tier-One without seeking input. Why? What science was the basis of this decision?
Brady and DeWitte also raised questions about the status of Illinois' contact tracing program and the data it is collecting.
"Illinoisans deserve to see the information the Administration is using when making decisions that impact their lives," said DeWitte. "The Governor tells us he's following the science and data, but he's not sharing that information. His contact tracing program has failed to live up to its hype, and requests on its progress have gone unanswered. They have promised legislators from both parties for weeks that they would send their contract tracing data, and we have yet to get anything."
Brady is calling for public hearings to shed greater light on the Administration's response to this pandemic.
"We must have greater transparency about the science and data being used to make these decisions. We need public hearings," said Brady. "I'm calling for the Illinois Senate to hold a hearing and invite staff from the Governor's office to come before legislators to share the data they are using when implementing these mitigation measures."