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Suburban Chicago Mayors Want Their Municipalities Reopened Now

CHICAGO (CBS) —  Outside of Cook County, many mayors have been pushing back against the governor’s stay-at-home orders.

CBS 2’s Chris Tye reports from Downers Grove where that push back is growing.

Next week’s move to Phase 3 is a state-wide green light. But moving forward, some regions of Illinois will advance faster than others based on health numbers.

In many counties, like DuPage, they’re concerned being lumped into the same region that includes Cook County will bring a slower return to normal.

“We are as skinny as you can go,” said Larry Boik. “We are down to one person per shift, every day.”

“Skinny” describes the profit margins, foot traffic and staffing levels for most suburban businesses relying on foot traffic. Boik’s Great Harvest Bread Company in Downers Grove is located in DuPage County. Mayors there are touting a successful flattening of the curve.

In Cook County, there are 1,238 positive COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents. DuPage’s numbers are half that: 662.

Deaths from COVID-19 in DuPage are lower per capita too. There are 57 deaths per 100,000 residents in Cook County. In DuPage, it’s 34 per 100,000.

“We shouldn’t be treated as if we all live and work in Cook County, because we don’t,” Boik said.

He fears his business will suffer longer because Cook, DuPage and six other collar counties are lumped into the same health region.

Rules will relax or tighten by region. If you’re in a region tied to Cook County, you’re likely to be last to normalize.

“It’s extremely frustrating and quite upsetting to be honest with you,” said Boik.  His mayor and others in the health region are making the case.

“If DuPage were considered on its own, we could move forward faster. If Downers Grove remains part of the northeast region, we may be forced to wait for months or longer to move forward,” said Downers Grove Mayor Robert Barnett.

And Barnett tried to pitch this to Governor Pritzker but…

“Our initial request was declined and since then, we have been unable to secure a follow up meeting to talk further.”

CBS 2 asked the governor why he hasn’t met with these mayors. He said he has talked with a wide swath of stakeholders and its his job to synthesize viewpoints, but admitted he’d been in isolation for the better part of ten days.

CBS 2 reached out to the mayor of two major suburbs, Downers Grove and Naperville. Neither were available to answer questions.

Source: CBS Chicago

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