PLAINFIELD — Dozens of local business around Will County and the surrounding area have been forced to shut their doors as they were not deemed essential under the governor’s Stay at Home Order. 

However, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) believes those shops are essential to the strength of their communities and should be open while adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

“People are allowed to freely shop at big-box stores like Menards and Target, so they should have the ability to support small businesses as well,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Those large stores are left to follow the governor’s guidelines — guidelines our local shops are also capable of following.”

Bertino-Tarrant and several of her colleagues in the Senate called on Gov. JB Pritzker to consider giving small businesses the opportunity to open. 

The group’s reopen plan, sent to Pritzker Tuesday, would allow businesses to work with local officials to prove they can enforce face covering requirements, adhere to the 6-foot social distancing guidelines based on square footage of the store, and ensure a thorough cleaning regimen for the safety of both customers and employees. 

“Local businesses and family-owned shops are suffering to the point some wonder if they will ever be able to financially recover from the pandemic,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Employees of these businesses are left unemployed and worry they might have to find new jobs. As state leaders, it is our duty to look for reasonable solutions to help all Illinoisans."

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