(The Center Square) – President Donald Trump said Illinois needs to reopen. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says capacity limits on businesses have to be maintained because COVID-19 is “very, very” dangerous.
Trump was across the border from the Land of Lincoln in Wisconsin Saturday where during a rally he criticized Pritzker.
“Tell you what, Illinois could use a new governor,” Trump said. “That guy doesn’t know what’s happened. They’ve gotta open up that state, they’ve got to open up that state.”
The following morning on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Pritzker said the president has “made it nearly impossible for states to open up any more than they are now.”
“We’ve already opened up much of our economy, but we have to maintain some certain capacity limits and make sure that our people are safe and healthy,” Pritzker said.
The governor’s original mitigation effort was to order businesses deemed nonessential closed to the public and for people to stay home. Pritzker said it was an effort to keep hospitals from overcrowding.
That order was largely lifted in July. There are still capacity limitations on businesses statewide.
In the northwestern-most part of the state, bars and restaurants are prohibited from having indoor service.
Pritzker told CNN seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is fighting it off without much help from the federal government.
The Democratic governor also criticized the Republican president’s political activities. “He’s modeling bad behavior,” Pritzker said.
“He doesn’t wear a mask in public. He has rallies where he doesn’t encourage people to wear masks in public. This is now rhetoric that people understand particularly in rural areas in my state. ‘Well the president doesn’t wear a mask, we don’t need to wear a mask, it’s not that dangerous.’ The truth of the matter is that it is very dangerous,” Pritzker said.
Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox News on Sunday they do encourage the public to wear masks at the rallies.
“Masks are important,” Miller said, noting they hand out masks at rallies.
“The president has urged people to wear them. Again, if you’re attending a Trump rally I urge you to wear your mask, be safe, wash your hands. We always check folks’ temperatures. But you know what … we’re not going to be scared, we’re not going to live in fear,” Miller said.
Pritzker took part in large crowded rallies over the summer in Chicago amid civil unrest over the police-involved death of a man in Minnesota. The governor also takes his mask off when at a podium during news conferences talking to reporters.
Trump on Saturday told the hundreds of people attending the rally that tight restrictions on economies across the country are “only being done for politics” and he expects them to be lifted after the election.
In Illinois, of nearly 35,000 hospital beds across the state, patients with COVID-19 symptoms in the hospital has increased to 2,012 as of Oct. 17, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data.
That is up from the July 4 low of 1,326. The peak hospitalization on April 28 was 5,037.
At no point in the pandemic have hospital beds statewide reached max capacity. The only time there were fewer than 10,000 vacant beds was on May 6.