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States’ differing shutdown rules are creating adjoining but sharply skewed economies.
The inequality is embodied in the Quad Cities metro area embracing Davenport, IA, on one side of the Mississippi River and Moline, IL, on the other.
Illinois’s suite of mandates requires businesses to provide face masks and personal protective equipment for employees, non-essential retailers to take orders only for delivery or curbside pickup, and set up one-way aisles in stores.
In contrast, Iowa is about to enter Phase 5 of its reopening plan, with restaurants allowed to offer indoor dining, although at no more than 25 percent of capacity.
Iowa, one of the few states that did not issue stay-at-home orders, saw its unemployment rate rise to 13.4 percent in April; on the Illinois side, the jobless rate was above 17 percent.
The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce estimates that businesses in Iowa are now collecting 65 percent of the area’s sales taxes as Illinois residents routinely cross the river to shop, dine, and have business meetings and personal events there.
The number of Quad Cities businesses shuttered in Illinois is about twice that still closed in Iowa, according to service firm Homebase.
With taxes and consumer dollars going to the Iowa side of the metro area, “this is truly an inflection point that will change the next generation,” said Paul Rumler, CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.

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