Municipalities, County Join Forces to Ask Governor to Move McHenry County to New Recovery Region
WOODSTOCK, Ill. – The mayors and village presidents of all 25 of McHenry County’s municipalities and County Board Chairman Jack Franks have formally asked Governor JB Pritzker to move the county out of the Restore Illinois recovery region that covers Chicago and the collar counties.
The eight-page letter makes the case through epidemiological data, hospital capacity and other statistics that McHenry County has met the criteria to move to the next higher phase in the COVID-19 recovery plan, which would allow for more businesses and institutions to re-open, with safeguards. However, because McHenry County is currently part of the Northeast Health Region, it cannot do so until the other eight counties in the region – Cook and the other collar counties plus Kendall, Grundy and Kankakee counties – meet the same benchmarks.
McHenry County and the Northeast Health Region are currently in Phase Two (“Flattening”) of the five-phase plan. Phase Three (“Recovery”) allows retail, barbershops, and other businesses to reopen with precautions such as face masks and capacity limits.
“I’ve said that we’re all in this together, but at the same time, it doesn’t make sense for McHenry County to be held back if we’ve met all the requirements until the other counties in our region catch up to us,” Franks, D-Marengo, said. “Our families and businesses are suffering, and every passing day prolongs that suffering – more jobs forever lost, more businesses shuttered, and more people losing hope. We’ve laid out a very compelling case, and a very responsible way to move forward while protecting the people, and I’m confident it will be well-received.”
The letter asks Governor Pritzker to either make McHenry County its own region, or to move it instead to the North-Central Region, which includes neighboring Boone, DeKalb, and 25 other counties covering the northwest part of the state. It also lays out specific safeguards that all the signing mayors pledge to adopt and enforce should the governor honor the request and move McHenry County to Phase 3.
McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett, one of the leaders of the initiative, praised the effort.
“I could not be prouder of the proactive efforts of the City Administration, the cooperation and support of Chairman Franks, and the partnership of my fellow mayors and village presidents throughout the county in developing this proposal, which not only ensures the continued safety of the residents of McHenry County, but also allows the businesses and employees of the county to reopen and begin to rebuild,” Jett said.
Franks thanked the McHenry County Council of Governments for its leadership in the project, as well as the McHenry County Department of Health and County Board Public Health and Community Services Committee Chairman Chris Christensen, R-Cary.
“As an organization that prides itself on local government coordination and collaboration, the McHenry County Council of Governments is pleased that our municipalities showed united support for this effort with Chairman Franks and McHenry County,” MCOG Executive Director Chalen Daigle said. “Through this pandemic, McHenry County communities have continued to work together and we hope that the Governor reviews our data and adjusts our region accordingly."
McHenry County has set up a resource page at www.mchenrycountyil.gov/covid19resources for community members, businesses and nonprofits needing help as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit the McHenry County Department of Health website at www.mcdh.info for more information about COVID-19 and how you can protect yourself and help slow its spread.