Illinois on Friday reached a new pandemic low in its COVID-19 positivity rate at 1.3%. More than 67% of Illinois adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and cases and hospitalizations continue to drop. The state is on track to enter Phase 5 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s reopening plan June 11.
Ahead of Phase 5 – a full reopening of the state – Pritzker issued a series of guidelines Friday afternoon.
Businesses, restaurants, bars, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, zoos, seated spectator events and more can operate at full capacity starting June 11.
Phase 5 marks the return of traditional conventions, festivals and large events without capacity restrictions. Large gatherings of all sizes can resume across all industry settings, and Phase 5 removes requirements that businesses institute mandatory social distancing in seated venues, as well as daily health screenings of employees and visitors.
Businesses and venues should continue to allow for social distancing to the extent possible, especially indoors, according to the governor’s office.
“After a tremendously challenging year, Illinois has now reached a defining moment in our efforts to defeat COVID-19,” Pritzker said in a news release. “Thanks to the hard work of residents across the state, Illinois will soon resume life as we knew it before – returning to events, gatherings and a fully reopened economy, with some of the safety guidelines we’ve adopted still in place.
“As we fully reopen, this administration remains laser-focused on ensuring a strong recovery for our small businesses and communities. Our fiscal 2022 budget invests $1.5 billion in small-business relief, tourism, job-creating capital projects and more, and we look forward to getting these dollars to communities across our state as quickly as possible.”
Masks and face coverings
Illinois will remain in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state also is lifting the outdoor mask requirement in schools in accordance with CDC guidance.
Upon entering Phase 5, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. The state will continue to recommend masking for unvaccinated individuals and require it for all people while traveling on public transportation, in congregate settings, in health care settings, in schools, in day cares and at educational institutions pursuant to the Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC guidance.
Businesses and local municipalities can put in place additional mitigations as they deem appropriate.
“This pandemic has robbed us of many of our freedoms, such as going to ballgames and concerts; celebrating graduations, weddings and birthdays; going to dinner with friends; and even sharing a hug with loved ones we don’t live with,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “The vaccine is giving us our freedoms back and allowing us to move to Phase 5. Let’s keep the vaccination momentum going so we can put this pandemic in the rearview mirror and not look back.”