Is it time to start re-opening businesses in Harrisburg, Ill?

Harrisburg business owners speak out about the consideration of reopening the city

Special meeting on reopening Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Ill. (KFVS) - Early Tuesday, Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek convened a special city council meeting to discuss the consideration of reopening the city businesses.

Multiple business owners entered the Harrisburg courthouse individually to share the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown on their business.

Mayor McPeek said the goal of the meeting was to let the Illinois governor be aware that downstate southern Illinois is “hurting."

McPeek said, “These small businesses are losing money every day, they’re not being able to pay their bills, you heard that this morning."

Stephanie Church owns a local salon. She was among five other business owners to speak in front of the council about her losses in this last month.

Church said this continued shutdown is devastating her business.

“I have looked at the numbers and seen that the numbers have stayed very low, and the numbers are not showing down here for him to keep us all closed," she said.

Christie Bailey is the owner of a Harrisburg Daycare. In the council meeting, she said she does not see a reason to open the city.

"We don’t want an outbreak, we don’t want people coming in to this city, I think that we will have an influx of people,” Bailey said.

According to Egyptian Health, Saline County has confirmed three positive cases.

McPeek said they do not have any confirmed cases within city limits.

“My ultimate hope for Harrisburg that we can get open really soon. And that our businesses continue,” McPeek said.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said municipalities opening on their own is not an option. The governor said “COVID-19 knows no county or regional boundaries.”

KFVS has reached out to Gov. Pritzker’s office for additional comment, but have not heard back.

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