BELLEVILLE, IL – Metro East business are pushing back against Illinois Governor J.B. Prizter’s stay at home order.
“Phase Three” of his plan is set to start in nine day.
But some businesses say if they don’t open now, they may not be able to reopen at all.
The owner of Don Rogers LTD. clothing store in Belleville says he’s been through eight recessions in 44-years of business, but the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown is his toughest financial challenge yet.
“The amount of revenue we’re losing and we’re going to lose Memorial Day business and sales is astronomical and we’re going to see just so many people that are not going to make it,” said Roger Wiggington, store owner.
After two and a half months of losing money every day, Wigginton would like to open now, instead of waiting until May 29th when the governor will allow non-essential businesses to begin phasing in their opening.
“You know after two and a half months we understand social distancing. We understand the parameters, but you know Dan there’s a very fine line between livelihood and lives and if you don’t have a livelihood you don’t have a life.”
Wiggington is a Belleville Alderman as well. He says small businesses are the lifeline for the city. And says he’s heard the frustration from many merchants, some of whom may not reopen at all.
“The mayor of Grafton and Waterloo and all the mayors are speaking up about the amount of business we’re losing to Missouri and you know you got four malls open now and the governor says if you go across boundaries you might bring the virus back, well if you go down the street to the grocery store you might bring the virus back,” said Wiggington.
Now that Governor Pritzker says businesses that violate the Illinois coronavirus order now won’t face misdemeanor charges, we may see Southern Illinois small businesses open before the legal end of his order on May 29th.