By Leah Williams
The Washington County Board elected to not release a statement during its meeting Tuesday that would reiterate its stance on the COVID-19 case.
After a lengthy discussion, the board took no action on a draft of a press release that would continue the status quo that had been put in place since the beginning of the stay-at-home order.
“Although there are varying viewpoints on how Washington County and the state of Illinois should proceed from here, the Washington County Board is committed to maintaining the current status quo and asks the public to continue abide by the executive orders that have been issued by the governor and the recommendations of the Illinois Department of Public Health,” the statement read.
Board Vice Chairman Gary Suedmeyer said the finance committee had discussed the matter during its meeting and had come to the conclusion after discussing with state representatives and other officials that defiant action against the state mandates would not be recommended.
“At the present time we decided that it would be best to be status quo,” Suedmeyer said.
The discussion came as a result of other counties taking a stand against Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home orders and closures of nonessential businesses. Some of the concerns the committee addressed, Suedmeyer said, was whether businesses or individuals who defy orders may see their state-issued licenses.
Several county board members were hesitant about issuing out a statement that could be seen as in-favor of Pritzker’s orders.
Board member Paul Todd asked a rhetorical question about where in the Bill of Rights does it stipulate that it is the government’s responsibility to protect the health of its citizens.
“This does not protect our freedom,” Todd said. “How can a county or a state order churches to be closed? What gives them the authority? They have no authority to do that. It’s an overreach by the government and everyone is just lemmings running off the cliff.”
Chairman David Meyer said the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding these court cases and other mitigating factors means the county may need to draft some sort of stance at any point.
“It is not a necessity by no means,” Meyer said. “Nothing changes. It is what it is yet. People been asking about different things, we thought a press release may be the way ago. But as stated it could change.”