ALTON, Ill. (CBS)– A downstate county has broken Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
Madison County, located near St. Louis, began reopening Wednesday after Tuesday night’s vote allowing businesses in the county to re-open in phases.READ MORE: 2 Injured In Shooting On Dan Ryan Expressway Near 57th Street
This means restaurants, gyms and salons can open with some restrictions. Businesses like restaurants, retail shops and gyms can only allow 25% capacity and salons will have to limit customers by appointment only.
Daycares and bars can also re-open.
As Emma Hogg of CBS affiliate KMOV-TV, CBS 4 in St. Louis reported, even with the newfound freedom, some owners said they are staying closed.
After nearly two months, the “open” sign was lit up, and Jim Boukas was back in the kitchen at GB Grill in Alton. The 79-year-old owner was elated.
“It’s nice just to see people around here,” Boukas said. “It makes my day.”
The diner seats 60 people normally, but is only allowing 15 customers, Boukas’ son, Angelou, told Hogg.
A few miles away at Nautilus Fitness Center, the “closed” sign came down and social distancing reminder went up. Gym-goers were glad to get back to their workout routines.READ MORE: Jefferson Park Homeowner Creates Visual Magic, With Huge Rotating Christmas Tree Poking Through Roof; 'Go Big, Or Go Home'
“We were excited, but we were ready,” said gym owner Suzie Sweetman. “We have been cleaning and disinfecting since we closed.”
But some business owners were still choosing to follow Gov. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
“We can and probably will get penalized for it,” said Amanda Diveley.
Diveley’s salon, Merle Norman Cosmetics, is licensed through the state. She fears opening early could put that license in jeopardy.
“I think it’s reckless,” Diveley said. “I get that they wanted to have the small businesses in their thoughts, but I don’t think they thought about everyone that’s licensed through the state.”
Pritzker has threatened the county with a loss of federal relief funding, saying he’s worried county leaders and business owners aren’t following science and data.
The county reported 446 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 33 deaths and one new death on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, State Representative John Cabello filed a temporary restraining order against Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.MORE NEWS: 2 Men Break Into GameStop In Logan Square
Cabello is the second Republican lawmaker to sue the governor.