Downstate Counties With Few Or No COVID-19 Cases Feel They’re Bearing Brunt Of Quarantine With Chicago
Some downstate and rural area residents feel they are bearing the brunt of the stay-at-home order with Chicago.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday announced that the stay-at-home order to fight the coronavirus in Illinois will be extended until May 30 – albeit with a few modifications.
But as CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, some downstate and rural area residents feel they are bearing the brunt of the order with Chicago.
The governor was asked Thursday why he did not extend the stay-at-home order just for Chicago and the suburbs, while allowing downstate Illinois and more rural areas to begin opening up
He chuckled and simply replied by saying the virus has no boundaries.
And in Chicago, a few miles from the Thompson Center where Pritzker spoke Thursday, retail shops in the Lincoln Park neighborhood are shuttered just like the in the rest of the state.
The Marquee Lounge bar, 1973 N. Halsted St., will soon be changing its “closed” sign from April 30 to May 30 as Gov. Pritzker extended the stay-at-home order.
And popular breakfast spot Toast, which had locations at 746 W. Webster Ave. and 2046 N. Damen Ave., was forced to put up their chairs for good. The restaurant chain has gone out of business due to COVID-19.
But Stephanie Gandrimas’ Encore Salon is not in a dense city neighborhood with a university campus and one of the city’s most popular parks like Lincln Park.
“My salon is on a dead end road next to a cow pasture, actually,” Gandrimas said.
Gandrimas’ salon is in rural McLeansboro, Illinois, 300 miles south of Chicago.
“I can’t pay a mortgage on a building I can’t use,” she said.
Downstate Hamilton County, where Gandrimas’ shop is located only has two confirmed coronavirus cases. Edgar, Pope, and Scott counties have no cases at all.
Cook County has 25,811.
“We can’t do drive-through nails. We can’t do facials from a distance,” said Trevor Engelhardt of the GingerSlam Nail Bar, 6222 N. Clark St.
GingerSlam has seen no customers for more than a month and counting.
“If it goes beyond this next month, we will have to see,” Engelhardt said.
The disparity in cases in Chicago versus rural areas has some asking why extend the order for the entire state.
Gandrimas said she initially supported the stay-at-home order.
“I really thought that in the beginning. yeah I did,” she said.
But her stance on the governor’s decision has shifted. Gandrimas wants to get back to cutting hair and making money, but doesn’t want to be the reason COVID-19 cases climb.
“I would have been scared if he told us to open. I would have been scared if he told us to stay closed,” she said.
“I am concerned,” Englehardt said. “But I’m more concerned about spreading illness and getting sick.”
The urban versus rural debate has been floated before, and Gov. Pritzker has said he would consider a regional or county-by-county approach to reopening the state.