ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. – Authorities in St. Clair County, Illinois are taking a tougher approach to enforcing Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach has had the hoops removed from basketball courts throughout the city’s 11 parks because of groups continuing to gather for pick-up games more than a week after the governor ordered all such gatherings to cease.
Playgrounds were taped off right away when the order was issued but parks were allowed to remain open for people to get out of their homes and exercise, so long as they refrained from doing so in groups and maintained a social distance of at least six-feet from each other.
Roach joined O’Fallon police in canvassing parks over the weekend, he said. They found that in certain cases, people were abusing the spirit of the order and risking the spread of COVID-19 infection.
The city has now closed all park pavilions, plus a baseball batting cage, along with removing the basketball hoops.
St. Clair County State’s Attorney James Gomric has also contacted police countywide to ask for stronger enforcement of the governor’s order.
“It is law,” he said. “It is law by way of order of the governor of the state of Illinois. Before this even happened, you made a risk-reward evaluation when you crossed the street. Now we’re doing it in a different format. It’s a whole lot better than seeing many individuals we care about and love leave our ranks because we’re being short-sighted.”
Though he didn’t expect it to come to this, Gomric said those who were indignant and absolutely refused to comply could face a Class-A misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine, and two years of probation.