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Madison County businesses begin to reopen, but with criticism

Two cities in the county said they will remain closed

MADISON COUNTY, Ill. — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker pushed back against a bold move by Madison County to reopen, saying there will be consequences.

Despite that threat, businesses in Madison County are free to open. And some already have.

An Edwardsville nail salon now among businesses to take part in Madison County's reopening.

"I was glad. We had to come," said one customer.

Wednesday marked phase 1 of the county's 4-phase plan. Under this phase, all businesses are essential and can open with 25% occupancy.

"Honest to god, I wish I can tell you, hey, I'm just going to wake up tomorrow morning and come in, you know, just open the doors, but I will not be doing that," said Becky Hamidi, owner of North Main Diner.

She said while some businesses are open, the county's decision did not give her much time to prepare. Instead, her small eatery will stick to being curbside.

"Right now, I just don't feel comfortable. I own my own business. I don't have no means or funds to handle no lawsuits or renewing my license, even if they give it back to you," said Hamidi.

RELATED: Madison County board votes to reopen despite statewide stay-at-home order

Those types of concerns led area leaders like Michael Holliday to vote no on reopening.

"I don't understand why he was in a rush to be in defiance of the governor's orders," said Holliday, who serves on the Madison County board.

Holliday said he believes it's simply too soon and going against the governor is a liability that's not worth the risk.

"There's just a lot of issues going on that were not looked at," said Holliday.

Customers walking out with freshly-coated nails said there's no better time than now.
"Our economy is suffering so much and its good for the economy to get back up and start running again, and if you don't agree with it, you can stay home," said Niki Politte.

RELATED: Collinsville, Granite City will not join the rest of Madison County in reopening

Collinsville and Granite City announced they will be following the governor's executive orders and not reopening.

"There's some concerns, especially with the governor coming out and saying that he could threaten funding to municipalities," said Collinsville City Manager Mitch Bair. "We have to believe that that would go into licensing for various businesses that the state controls, as well, so that was really one of concern for our businesses and what could eventually happen if they failed to follow that executive order."

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