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An Illinois county is declaring itself “back open for business” on Wednesday after officials voted in favor of beginning its own economic recovery plan as opposed to the one laid out by the state.
The move by Madison County – which is just outside of St. Louis – runs in defiance of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order during the coronavirus outbreak. That order is set to run through the end of May.
“This bi-partisan resolution expresses the confidence the Board of Health has in businesses to open in a safe and reasonable manner,” Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler said in a statement Tuesday night announcing a 26-2 vote by its Board of Health in favor of reopening the economy.
“We want to balance the goals of public health, our economy and jobs, and our constitutional rights,” he added. “We understand these are hard times, but we also understand there is a need to support the financial health of our communities, the business owners, and their families.”
Madison County’s four-phased reopening plan allows retail businesses – including theaters, bars, and bowling alleys – to reopen at 25 percent capacity as of Wednesday.
“At the same time, we are asking citizens to do their part to take all necessary precautions to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of everyone,” it says. “During each phase of these guidelines, Madison County will continue to monitor the status of its impact in coordination with the local health department and staff.”
Madison County spokesperson Cynthia Ellis told Fox News that a gym has now reopened as a result of the announced measures, while an online dashboard has been set up so the “community can support local businesses and know which ones are open, closed or have altered hours.”
But Gov. Pritzker has threatened to withhold federal relief funds from counties in Illinois that open ahead of his schedule.
"The vast majority of those counties and business owners are not talking to epidemiologists, not talking to scientists in fact they're not relying on science in any way whatsoever to make their decision," the governor said Tuesday during his daily press conference, according to KMOV.
His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News on Wednesday.
Pritzker is not the only force pushing back against Madison County for their reopening plan.
“This is a political move,” Madison County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Harris told Fox2Now. “This isn’t real leadership.”