The following letter was sent to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker from Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dawn Mushill on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 in response to the new round of mitigation measures that took effect that day.
September 2, 2020
The Honorable J.B. Pritzker, Governor of Illinois
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Dear Governor Pritzker:
You can visit any small business in Illinois and know that they have, in some way, all been affected by COVID. The Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce has been committed to providing resources and assistance to those businesses since March. We have seen the need for help in finding and applying for funding, walking through the MANY implemented changes with them and sometimes just being the shoulder to cry on.
These businesses have experienced a time that they have never experienced before and then on Wednesday, September 2, you implemented mitigation measures that closed inside service at restaurants and bars. This is the second round of inside closures in our area for this industry. How will they survive? How will they pay their employees? How will they feed their family?
Our local businesses have been impacted through loss of sales, employees being laid off and spoilage of products. (The fact that you waited until 3:00 p.m. the day before the closures, when all along you knew it was going to happen, shows inconsideration for those businesses who ordered food and drink and also had staff scheduled. You have to put yourself in their shoes and you should be be considerate.)
Our cities and villages have been negatively affected through loss of revenue to the community, loss of sales tax, loss of hotel/motel tax and insufficient resources to pass along to the businesses. The local mayors have also been excluded from many conversations and the ability to provide input about their city/village.
With the new closures, the businesses are going to need additional funding, more than what has been offered so far. The funding options need to happen now and should have been included with the mitigation announcement. Most of the funding was given to areas closer to Chicago. We are here, in southern Illinois, and can use the funding just as much as other areas. The plan has to be bigger than just going back to Level 2. If you look at the numbers, you can see that many of the positive cases are from prisons, nursing homes and assisted living organizations. These individuals are not out in the community. If those numbers were in a separate group, you would see that Region 4 is right where you need us to be.
We encourage you to visit the Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce office and then we can take you on a tour of our area in our Chambermobile and let you meet some of our members who are really struggling. I believe when making decisions that affect so many people, you have to involve those in the trenches. We are in the trenches with our members and are looking out for their best interest. My hope is that you and your staff will do the same.
Dawn M. Mushill