Illinois businesses, Chamber talk 'damage' to economy
Representatives of local Illinois businesses across multiple industries held a press conference Monday to share personal experiences of continued long-term closure on their companies.
During the press conference at the Rust Belt in East Moline, they also encouraging Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to allow more businesses to re-open sooner to help mitigate the long-term economic impact on Illinois businesses as they fall further behind Iowa.
“The Quad Cities is one regional economy, and we have continually called for a collaborative response to encourage consistent approaches to fight the pandemic and to reopen our Quad Cities economy,” said Paul Rumler, Quad Cities Chamber President, and CEO. “The opposite happened, and the Quad Cities economy is suffering, more in the Illinois part. As an advocate for business, our role is to elevate and amplify area business voices to those making decisions that impact their operations.”
On June 5, the Quad Cities Chamber and community leaders sent a letter to Pritzker asking him to consider a Phase 3B in Restore Illinois to help businesses get back to serving customers and put more Quad Citizens back to work, the Chamber said in a media release.
The letter urged the governor to allow restaurants and bars to seat up to 50 percent of their business indoors, along with outdoor seating already in place. The letter also asked for casinos, bowling alleys, gyms/fitness centers, museums, and other businesses to be permitted to open under similar capacity and health guidelines, according to the release.
Under the current Restore Illinois guidelines, the earliest that restaurants and bars may re-open with indoor seating is June 26, and even then, with capacity restrictions.
According to the plan, a vaccine or no new cases over a sustained period are necessary before Illinois can fully open restaurants, retailers, personal services, fitness facilities, or entertainment venues or have gatherings over 50 people.
As of Friday, Iowa businesses can operate at full capacity while ensuring groups maintain six feet of physical separation, hygiene, and other public health guidelines.
“Our Illinois businesses are hurting. With each passing day they are falling further and further behind their counterparts in Iowa, which ultimately shifts the economic make-up of our entire region,” said Aaron Tennant, Chamber Board Chair and CEO of Simplex Leasing, Inc. “Reduced employee income as well as decreased tax revenue and services make for an uneven playing field. We need our collective voices to be heard.”
The Chamber sent a joint letter to Pritzker and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds in early May advocating working together to reopen our bi-state regional economy at the same time. Representatives from the restaurant, entertainment, hospitality, and tourism industries also shared personal experiences and impact during the event.
The Chamber encourages businesses to contact elected officials to show their support through the