By RANDY PIERCE
Fairview Heights Mayor Mark Kupsky issued a letter to local businesses this month reminding them of the importance of complying with the restrictions set forth concerning the coronavirus pandemic and the negative possibilities that could occur if the situation worsens.
The month of July has seen a surge in the number of positive coronavirus test results for residents living in Fairview Heights ZIP code 62208 and in all of St. Clair County, which has caused great concern among elected officials like Kupsky.
Sent out on Friday, July 24, the letter from Kupsky asked business owners to read and fully understand the information from him so that the current status of their operations can remain in place without a reversion to Phase Three of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan, which is much more stringent.
Under the governor’s mitigation plan, which was included with Kupsky’s letter, if this region of the state experiences three consecutive days where positivity rates average greater than 8 percent percent of all of those tested, then going back to Phase Three will result.
Phase Three consisted of the closure of all businesses determined to be nonessential, no indoor dining or bar service, limits on the number of people allowed to gather in one place and much more.
When Pritzker and his team divided the state into 11 regions for assessing the impact of COVID-19, St. Clair County was grouped with the counties of Madison, Monroe, Bond, Washington and Randolph to make up what is referred to as Illinois Region Four, according to St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern.
When the COVID-19 numbers were taken into consideration for moving from Phase Three into Phase Four on June 26, the percentage of positive test results was low enough to warrant a relief from the stay at home orders and other restrictions which were in place for several weeks prior to that time.
That trend appears to be reversing itself in recent weeks, thus prompting Kupsky to prepare and issue his letter of July 24. The IDPH, it said, cited St. Clair County as a primary contributor to the rise in the positivity rate in Region Four.
“Our Region Four is nearing these thresholds,” the mayor’s letter said in reference to the conditions that could warrant going back to Phase Three.
Further explained in the correspondence from Kupsky that the first tier of mitigation steps could include again suspending indoor bar service and reducing indoor dining capacity while also limiting gatherings, retail business, salon and personal care services.
“Therefore, in order to avoid such regression,” Kupsky concluded, “it is imperative that restaurants and bars in the city strictly comply with the requirements” of the governor’s “Restore Illinois” plan, including but not limited to thorough sanitizing, social distancing and requiring facial coverings (masks) to be worn.