Open Downstate Illinois! Arthur was well represented at Sunday’s rally at the Capital in Springfield. Pictured is Fred Helmuth and Daren and Anna Herschberger as close to 75 people from all over the state gathered peacefully to send a message to Governor Pritzker as he stay-at-home order was extended. Retail stores considered “non-essential” have been allowed to reopen to fill orders made online or by phone but must offer delivery or curbside pick-up beginning May 1. No mention of a plan or direction to reopen restaurants and bars from the governor in the foreseeable future leaving owners frustrated as they desperately want to open back up as well.
A group of about 30 people, business owners and residents from the Arthur area, joined other peaceful protesters from around the state Sunday afternoon outside the Illinois State Capitol. Affected by Governor Pritzker’s stay-home order that has been in effect since March 21, participants wanted their voices heard as Pritzker extended the stay-at-home order through the end of May.
Organized by Fred Helmuth, they met and departed from the parking lot at Yoder’s Kitchen.
Anna Herschberger, owner of Yoder’s Kitchen, along with husband Nelson and son Daren, carried signs with the messages “Open Restaurants” and “We Are All Essential Workers,” said she felt “hopeless and helpless” since all this has started.
Even though she qualified for the Paycheck Protection Plan from the federal government, her 100 plus employees are begging her to go back to work.
With business down close to 85 percent, Yoder’s is still doing carryout and is seeing more and more people coming from Taylorville, Springfield, Decatur, Champaign and other areas showing their support during the shutdown.
“This is just killing all small businesses,” she stated which is why she decided she had to do something. “Going to Springfield today is something I have never done before but felt I had to. I feel we have no rights, or any say so at all right now.”
She went on to say, “The other big reason I decided we needed to make the trip to Springfield was to show my support for our State Representative Brad Halbrook who is really out there fighting for all of us every single day.”
The Arthur caravan will meet this Friday, May 1 and depart from Yoder’s Kitchen around 10:30 a.m. as two Reopen Illinois rallies are planned again for this week with a large crowd expected outside the Capital Building in Springfield and the Thompson Center in Chicago. Anyone wanting more information can contact Nelson Herschberger at 217-202-2018
The rally is one of many that have popped up in state capitals in recent weeks as governors extend stay-at-home-orders into May.