Board of Health Delays Vote On Reopening Madison County

By Stephanie Malench

The Madison County Board of Health held a special meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss the work of the Re-Open Madison County working group and discuss a resolution to reopen the businesses as long as they do so in a safe manor.

The meeting began with each board member having a chance to give their opinion on opening the county up against the state’s stay at home order.

While most of the board members were in favor of reopening the county’s businesses, especially small businesses, there was much concern over how it should be done.

In its original form the resolution states that businesses and churches will be allowed to reopen upon providing a Notice of Re-Opening to the Board of Health with a copy to the Madison County Health Department, along with a plan on how they will re-open in a safe and responsible way. The business or church may re-open immediately upon submission, but the Health Department can order them to close again if the Board requests adaptations to the plan and the buiness does not follow through or an agreement cannot be reached on how to make the modifications to stay open. State’s Attorney Gibbons can also file court procedings to ensure the business remains closed.

The majority of concerns centered on potential liability to businesses losing their business licenses and the county losing Illinois Department of Public Health funds.

Because the resolution had not been emailed out to the board by Chairman Kurt Prenzler until 11 am, many of the board’s members had not had a chance to read, study, and think about the resolution enough to vote on it. The board also had concerns that Illinois State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons had not had a chance to review the document for legal ramifications.

One member, Victor Valentine (D- Edwardsville) encouraged the board to wait until after the weekend. Valentine asked for a bipartisan committee of two members from each party to review the resolution and work out the kinks.

After all the members had a chance to speak Gibbons said that he would be willing to work all weekend with a committee of three Republicans, two Democrats, and Chairman Prenzler to review legal issues in the resolution. Of special concern to him was the concern that buinesses would lose their licensure with the state.

The Board is set to meet again at 5 pm on Tuesday May 13.

This is a devloping story.

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