joyce 031020Park Forest — In a letter sent earlier today, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) called on the governor to move Kankakee and Grundy Counties into another region in his COVID-19 reopening plan.

“Kankakee and Grundy Counties are largely rural, with very few large towns and much smaller cities,” Joyce said. “Not many people live in Kankakee and commute to Chicago. They don’t need to wait until Chicago and Cook County’s COVID-19 numbers go down before reopening.”

Joyce’s letter emphasized that Grundy County has a population of approximately 50,000 and that residents of both counties lead more similar lives to the more rural counties around them than to Cook and the collar counties.

“I also represent suburban Cook County, and I understand why those communities are in the same region as Chicago. They’re in the same county,” Joyce said. “For Kankakee and Grundy Counties, it just doesn’t make sense.”

Even before the governor announced his reopening plan, Joyce called for more local control over the reopening process. For example, he joined several of his colleagues in petitioning the governor to grant local health departments the authority to allow small local retailers to reopen with the same restrictions as big box stores.

“Our reopening plans have to be based on the best advice of medical professionals and scientists. The governor and I agree on that point,” Joyce said. “However, for the sake of people’s mental and financial health, I don’t think any community should stay closed longer than absolutely necessary.”

In the letter, Joyce also encouraged the governor to allow Will County to be its own region. Joyce represents a small, rural portion of Will County.