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County chairman forms committee to look at reopening Madison County

Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler on Tuesday announced the formation of an “Opening Up Madison County Again” committee of business and community leaders.

“Business people are creative and practical thinkers,” Prenzler said. “This committee will collect ideas on how to get our county moving again.”

The committee will operate in line with Illinois government and within President Donald Trump’s “Opening Up America Again” guidelines that allow states to use various strategies for different counties.

“I’ve been hearing from many Madison County business people who are anxious to get back to work,” Prenzler said.  “They have bills to pay.”

As the state looks to the future, Prenzler is asking Governor J.B. Pritzker to allow Madison County input on the process of opening up.

“I appreciate the hard work of Gov. Pritzker and his public health team, as they have dealt with a very difficult situation, particularly in Chicago,” Prenzler said. “We’re saddened by the loss of life that has taken place across the country.”

Nationwide, smaller counties have chafed under state-wide restrictions that were deemed necessary for large cities.

“We’re not Chicago,” Prenzler said. “We believe that our business owners can responsibly open up in phases, while at the same time respecting the public’s health.”

The committee includes individuals who understand their respective industries: Bob Gvillo, president of the Madison County Farm Bureau, representing agriculture and meat packers; the Rev. Danny Holliday, Victory Baptist, Alton, and the Rev. Ben Tolly, Superintendent of the Gateway Conference of the Free Methodist Church, churches; Matt McSparin, owner of Edison’s Entertainment Complex, restaurants and bars; Mike Rathgeb, homebuilding; Ben Golley, Today’s Beauty Supply, Alton, and Nancy Schneider,  Chef’s Shoppe, Edwardsville, retail; and County Board member Erica Harriss, who also runs her own business.

Prenzler said that he hopes to expand the committee.

“I want to hear from small business owners, especially those who have been hit hard,” Prenzler said.

People should feel free to submit ideas to or

“Everyone’s health and safety is important,” Prenzler said. “We know people are frustrated and itching to get back to work and this group will collect ideas on how to do that.”

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