CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday thanked the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules for upholding his order allowing local authorities to fine establishments that fail to enforce the rules on wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have always put the health and safety of Illinoisans first, and I’m gratified that local governments now have an additional way to keep their communities safe,” Pritzker said in a statement.

On Sunday, Pritzker gathered with a group of public health experts to emphasize the importance of wearing masks.

He noted that 82 percent of Americans are under a mask mandate as it is, and all public health professionals support the enforcement of both mask use and social distancing.

Pritzker said the rule is also for the benefit of “the businesses that are following the rules while their competitors flout them. We’re doing this for the people who have to work in the stores where their bosses won’t enforce public health rules, thereby putting their lives and health at risk.”

It was last week when a href=”https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2020/08/07/gov-jb-pritzker-announces-potential-fines-for-businesses-that-violate-mask-and-social-distancing-requirements/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Pritzker issued new rules allowing local authorities to fine businesses, schools, and child care facilities that repeatedly fail to enforce the statewide mask mandate and social distancing requirements.

Pritzker said the new emergency rule would set up a three-step enforcement process.

First, businesses will be educated about the need to comply with the requirement for people to wear a mask in public whenever they can’t maintain at least six feet of distance from others. Second, businesses that do not comply will be given written warnings, and ordered to have some or all of their customers leave the premises as needed to comply with public health guidelines. Finally, businesses that repeatedly violate public health requirements will be subject to a Class A misdemeanor, subject to a fine of $75 to $2,500.

“The vast majority of our communities and business owners are doing what’s right. Working alongside these partners, these rules will provide multiple opportunities for compliance before any penalty is issued and will help ensure that the minority of people who refuse to act responsibly won’t take our state backward,” Pritzker said in the Tuesday statement. “These rules will ensure that there is a commonsense way to enforce public health guidelines with an emphasis on education first so that Illinois can continue to make substantial progress in our fight against COVID-19.”