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City leaders urge lawmakers to freeze minimum wage hike amid coronavirus

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A call from Quincy city leaders to push back the minimum wage increases in Illinois, set to go into effect in July.

They said this is just another way to help businesses through what they're calling a health and economic crisis.

At TCBY, employees said due to the coronavirus, it's been a challenge and that's the case for many businesses in Quincy.

That's why city leaders are urging local lawmakers to freeze the minimum wage increase, to allow these businesses time to get back on their feet.

TCBY in Quincy is operating by drive-thru only.

"The first couple days, we weren't really sure how to handle everything," Manager Cheryl Scarbrough said.

Many businesses in Quincy were forced to close up shop amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Others, who can operate, are hanging on by a thread.

"We're still doing a great business, but it's not what it normally is, we're definitely not making enough to pay for stuff," Scarbrough said.

It's a trend throughout Quincy that the chamber of commerce has noticed.

That's why Executive Director Latonya Brock is urging local lawmakers to look into freezing the Illinois minimum wage hike, that's supposed to take effect July 1.

"With the stay at home order, businesses are experiencing certainly hard times and some businesses don't even know how they're going to pay their employees, so we want to ask them to consider taking this to Governor Pritzker," Brock said.

The minimum wage is $9.25 right now, but the increase would bump it up to $10, come July.

Illinois State Senator Jil Tracy said she's working to get some type of help put in place.

"We're looking at ways to reach a balance that will lessen the impact for those that are going through this, whether they are front line workers, those who are laid off, and the businesses that employ them," Tracy said.

However, she said there are factors to consider.

"The timing of July, not knowing how long this is going to last and many of our front line workers, that are working in small rural groceries, gas stations, we have to see how it affects them," Tracy said.

Back at TCBY, employees said they're looking for any type of relief.

"I definitely think pausing it would help out a lot," Scarbrough said.

Brock said she's going to continue to stay in contact with local lawmakers in an effort to get local businesses the help they need.

She said if businesses have questions or need assistance, they can call the chamber.

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