County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler is collecting data from small businesses and local key sectors to put together a plan that will help reopen Madison County.
“We have taken a proactive approach to plan for reopening Madison County when the time is right,” Prenzler said.
Earlier this week, Prenzler announced his plan to form a committee, Opening Up Madison County Again. The committee will collect information, keeping in line with state authority and the federal administration’s Opening Up America Again guidelines.
The federal guidelines are for governors, who are the legal authorities. The administration proposed a phased approach, suggesting governors could begin to open up states on a “county-by-county” basis, should they choose.
Prenzler is collecting plans from small businesses, churches and other organizations, which are encouraged to submit a “one-page” plan to reopen in a phased, safe way.
“I want to be clear that these guidelines are 100 percent consistent with the public health mission of our county health department,” Prenzler said. “We have medical doctors and nurses on our Health Advisory Board, and every day I’m talking with doctors and nurses who are seeing the COVID-19 cases firsthand.”
Prenzler said he has spoken with a number of business owners including dog groomers, kennel operators, photographers, retailers, and owners of restaurants, golf courses and health clubs. He has already received plans from three golf courses, a health club and a florist.
“We need to prepare a plan on what to do when the time comes to open things up again,” he said.
Dr. Loren Hughes of Edwardsville, who also serves on the committee, said public safety is everyone’s No. 1 concern.
“There are significant risks to COVID-19 and the guidelines put in place by Gov. J. B. Pritzker and the federal government have seemed to flatten the curve,” Hughes said. “It’s never too early to begin planning for the future. By working together we can begin to resume some activities while continuing to ensure the safety and health of our community.”