The Pekin City Council passed an ordinance Monday allowing police to fine citizens or businesses for violating Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home executive order aimed at containing the coronavirus.
Fines would run between $100 to $750 per offense, with each day counting as a separate offense. Pekin Mayor Mark Luft said the state expects local municipalities to uphold the order, which bars gatherings larger than 10 people and shuts down most businesses.
"Without this ordinance during a state of emergency, without it, the police department's hands are tied, and basically, the executive order could be in violation, anybody could be in violation of it, because there's nobody to uphold it," Luft said.
Councilman Rick Hilst was opposed.
"Personally, I just don't feel that the time during a state of emergency is the time to go out and adopt an ordinance to go out and start pulling more money out of peoples' pockets when we got a lot of people that are out of a job right now and are struggling to pay their bills," he said.
Luft said no tickets have been issued yet. The ordinance defines violating the executive order as a punishable public nuisance. The ordinance runs through the duration of Pritzker's executive order.
Pekin closed riverfront access last week because large groups continued to gather there. The council voted 4-3 to pass the ordinance, with Hilst, Dave Nutter, and Michael Garrison opposing.
The council also unanimously approved allowing the mayor and city manager to retain emergency powers until the next meeting.
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