Illinois Farm Bureau Board members sent a letter this week to Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello with suggestions to improve the Restore Illinois plan.

The director indicated he would share the suggestions with Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

IFB Board letter requests Restore Illinois changes

The letter specifically urges the governor to shorten the Restore Illinois 28-day hospital admission standard to 14 days. Multiple regions throughout the state currently have a significant percentage of available hospital beds, ICU beds, and ventilators, the letter stated. Additionally, the positivity rate in these regions is well below the thresholds required by the Restore Illinois plan.

The letter further notes flexibility should be provided on the rate of hospital admissions.

“As written now, the criteria state a region must have no overall increase in hospital admissions of patients with COVID-like illnesses within the plan’s timeline. Our members are concerned this criteria could hold a region back even if its hospital admissions increase by only a single person,” the letter noted.

IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. said: "We have heard from many Illinois Farm Bureau members concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the economies of their rural communities. The IFB Board is interested in seeing a safe reopening of the economy. Director Costello has been an advocate for Illinois farmers and asked for our suggestions on how to improve the Restore Illinois plan during a call with the Board."