ALGONQUIN, Ill. (CBS) — Boat owners were looking for answers from Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday, saying his rules on social distancing for them don’t make sense.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, restrictions on boating were loosened somewhat when a revised stay-at-home order was issued for May.
At the Fox 14 Marina on the Fox River, the change in the tide overall is affecting business. Garry Zack is normally putting together a waiting list of boaters at this time of year, but now, coronavirus means he has about 20 empty slips.
“We’ve had a lot of people cancel their slips because they can’t afford to keep the slip, because they have to pay their rent,” Zack said. “This is one of those things they stop doing.”
Another reason is that people don’t even want to go out. A new social distancing rule means no more than two people are allowed on a boat – even if it’s immediate family.
“Even if they don’t get in the water, they like cruising around, and we’re looking forward to those warmer days,” said Joseph Wyrostek.
Wyrostek has a wife and six kids.
“I don’t understand the science behind it,” he said. “I can’t see it as a scientific decision if I’m already quarantined with them.”
On Sunday, Gov. JB Pritzker said the rules are specifically in place to allow fishing.
“Also the idea that if you can’t maintain the six feet distance, you’re putting yourself and your family and friends in danger,” Pritzker said. “Look, it’s the data that tells us.”
Boaters like Wyrostek want to see that science and data.
“It’s not even realistic,” he said. “I would rather have a day in court than to restrict my family from enjoying what we’ve literally waited all winter for.”
Zack said even though he got help from a federal loan that will keep his business afloat, he wants to see more consideration to this new rule.
“It just does not make sense,” he said.
Gov. Pritzker said local agencies will enforce the rule that lasts until the end of May.
But the Fox Waterway Agency that is over the river said it will ask for more clarification on rules as Memorial Day gets closer.