Former Illinois State Representative and current McHenry County Board chairman Jack D. Franks.

All of McHenry County’s 25 mayors and village presidents have formally asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker to move the county out of the Northeast health region in order to reopen sooner.

The mayors and village presidents of all 25 of McHenry County’s municipalities along with County Board Chairman Jack Franks sent an eight-page proposal letter to Pritzker.

The letter uses epidemiological data, hospital capacity and other statistics showing that McHenry County has met the criteria to move to phase three of Restore Illinois, which is Pritzker’s COVID-19 recovery plan to reopen the state.

Restore Illinois consists of four regions that group together the state’s 11 Emergency Medical Services regions. McHenry County was put into the Northeast region, which includes Chicago and the collar counties.

All four health regions are currently in phase 2 of the five-phase plan but the Northeast region is the only one not on track to enter phase three on May 29.

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Phase three of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan allows retail, offices, barbershops and other businesses to reopen with precautions.

“I’ve said that we’re all in this together, but at the same time, it doesn’t make sense for McHenry County to be held back if we’ve met all the requirements until the other counties in our region catch up to us,” Franks, D-Marengo, said.

“Our families and businesses are suffering, and every passing day prolongs that suffering – more jobs forever lost, more businesses shuttered, and more people losing hope. We’ve laid out a very compelling case, and a very responsible way to move forward while protecting the people, and I’m confident it will be well-received,” Franks said.

The letter asks Pritzker to either make McHenry County its own region or move it to the North-Central region, which includes neighboring Boone, DeKalb and 25 other counties covering the northwest part of the state.

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The letter also lays out specific safeguards that all the signing mayors pledge to adopt and enforce should the governor honor the request.

McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett, one of the leaders of the initiative, praised the effort.

“I could not be prouder of the proactive efforts of the City Administration, the cooperation and support of Chairman Franks, and the partnership of my fellow mayors and village presidents throughout the county in developing this proposal, which not only ensures the continued safety of the residents of McHenry County, but also allows the businesses and employees of the county to reopen and begin to rebuild,” Jett said.

Franks thanked the McHenry County Council of Governments for its leadership in the project, as well as the McHenry County Department of Health and County Board Public Health and Community Services Committee Chairman Chris Christensen.

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