QUINCY (WGEM) — The Scoreboard, a restaurant and bar in Quincy, opened its doors to customers Monday morning, defying the governor's stay-at-home order.
Customers started arriving to the building at 234 South 8th Street at 10 a.m. Monday. It quickly grew to a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd filling the dining area and bar.
Customers were made aware of the reopening after owner Judy Huff posted the following statement to Facebook over the weekend.
"I have had amazing responses to our opening. We are truly blessed. Thank you all for your support. Please remember to respect everyone. my employees, The citizens, Q.P.D., mayor, we can do this all together as a city/county. the scoreboard will be doing our utmost best to serve you. please don't feel you have to buy anything. your support, respect, friendship is important to us. anger is not allowed at no point. thank you." Judy
Under the governor's extended stay-at-home order, restaurants and bars are to remain closed until the end of May, but Huff said Quincy and Adams County leaders made it clear last week that they do not support the order and they would not be enforcing it.
WGEM News called local officials to verify if they plan to no longer enforce the order, but calls to Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley, Adams County Sheriff Brian VonderHaar, Adams County State's Attorney Gary Farha and Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore all went unreturned Monday.
Adams County Public Health Administrator Jerrod Welch declined to comment to WGEM News about businesses reopening.
Huff said her business had reached a point that she either needed to reopen now or face going out of business. She said it was a financial decision.
Huff, who said she's on oxygen 24/7 explained, "I have no fear of dying, so if I get the virus so be it."
Huff accused the governor of being a bully and a tyrant.
"Let us open. Give us back our livelihoods. It's uncalled for," Huff said.
Last week, Moore criticized the governor's plan to reopen.
"I stand with a sensible approach to reopen our communities, but the Reopen Illinois plan is not the proper approach for Adams County," Moore said last week.
Moore stopped short of encouraging businesses to reopen, saying they risk losing their licenses if they disobey the order.
However, many bars and restaurants across the state are reopening to save themselves from bankruptcy. Gov. Pritzker says they'll have people's lives on the line. The WGEM Capitol Bureau asked Pritzker if he'll allow these businesses to operate. He says there is a potential for an upsurge of cases and hospitalizations in Quincy by reopening too early.
"That will drive that whole region potentially to a point where it may not reopen," Pritzker said Monday. "So I think they're putting people at risk and they're putting the entire region's economy at risk by opening early." Meanwhile, Pritzker says his staff has talked with leaders in the restaurant industry. He says they want to try and reopen everything in a reasonable time while keeping people safe.
Pritzker said last week that he would consider using Illinois State Police and state licensing agencies if local law enforcement refused to enforce the order.
Monday afternoon Adams County and Quincy officials released a statement detailing their response to local businesses that violate the governor's stay-at-home order.
Officials stated, there will be a two-step response to violations of the stay-at-home order.
The statement said a police agency will respond when a complaint is received. If the business is in violation, a warning will be issued. The officer will explain to the business why they should not be open.
The statement said upon a second violation, the agency will forward complaints and reports to the appropriate state agency.
Later Monday afternoon Huff said she had received a written warning.
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