The transient slaughterhouse workers of Beardstown still fill the rooms at the Budget Inn in the small central Illinois town, but the motel owner admits, beyond that “business is very slow.”

Some 30 miles southeast in Jacksonville, a sewing supply shop has closed its doors, posting instructions on how to make protective face masks, next to a plastic bin to collect donated masks.

And in southern Illinois, a small-town mayor worries that the economic downturn will lead to a spike in the already above-average suicide rate.

“The majority of people — especially in Southern Illinois — live pay-check to pay-check, and one day off work or two days off work — it is going to devastate families,” Mount Vernon Mayor John Lewis said.

In Illinois, the focus on the coronavirus crisis has been squarely on Chicago, but the hardships, fears and worries have spread across the state, even if the overwhelming majority of COVID-19 cases are in Cook County, not the state’s other 101 counties.

And that has some public officials questioning Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decisions.

For state Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, the economic loss from the social-distancing is too much for rural Illinois. He’s calling for the Chicago Democrat to ease stay-at-home restrictions for less-densely populated Downstate Illinois.

“We already have built-in social distancing to begin with,” Halbrook said.

Like it has in much of the country under similar orders, life in Downstate Illinois has slowed during the coronavirus pandemic. Shops have closed, restaurants are only open for takeout or drive-thru and stores are devoid of any toilet paper.

But while it has slowed, it has not stopped.

Along the Illinois River, visitors to Beardstown are welcomed into the small city with a green sign listing the estimated population of the rural Illinois town — 5,800. The city is famous for being the site of one of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous cases as a country lawyer and where, according to one of his confidants, the future president believes he was infected with syphilis.

Today, despite the global pandemic, Beardstown’s top employer, the JBS plant, still has its lights on.

And the town’s other businesses are grateful.

Despite an overall slowdown, the Budget Inn is benefiting from the transient workers who still need somewhere to sleep.