Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker may have ordered everyone else in his state to close down and stay home, but it looks like he’s got no problem with people traveling, working or gathering...if it's to work on his new house.
Reports from a local news outlet say they discovered nearly two dozen construction workers, almost all of whom were from Pritzker’s state of Illinois, working to build a new house on the governor’s farm just across the border into Wisconsin.
FOX 32 wandered over the Wisconsin border into Kenosha County and found more than 20 construction workers -- nearly all from Illinois -- helping build a massive new home and several outbuildings on Pritzker's horse farm.
… Pritzker has been generally praised for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, which includes an appeal to limit travel.
But when FOX 32 obtained the permits for the 7,000 square-foot, $2.5-million project, we found a lot of people would be traveling from Illinois to build it.
All but one of the listed contractors is based in Chicago or its suburbs, and we saw cars and construction vehicles with Illinois plates leaving the project and turning south into the Land of Lincoln.
Pritzer defended having so many workers on his property building his house despite urging residents in his state to stay home, saying construction is “an essential function.”
"First of all they're operating an essential function. Construction is an essential function. And second of all, they're union employees that are going to do the work that they do. And I've never said people can't cross the border to another state,” Pritzker said Thursday.
But many residents say Pritzker’s a big fat hypocrite, given that he’s shut down businesses across his state and urged his residents to avoid an “unnecessary” travel. The state has gradually lifted some restrictions, but still bans gatherings of more than 10 people and requires face masks when “social distancing” isn’t possible. Pritzker's stay-at-home order runs through May 30, and anyone over the age of 2 is required to wear a facemask in public.
On May 20, Pritzker signed an executive order criminalizing any violation of his business closure mandates under threat of a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail. The governor withdrew the order after a public outcry. More than 1.1 million people in Illinois have filed for unemployment.