Pritzker announces loosening of restrictions on businesses, restaurants, outdoor activities in Phase 3 of Restore Illinois

IDPH announced the state has surpassed 100,000 covid-19 cases.

Gov. JB Pritzker announced the loosening of restrictions for a variety of businesses in Phase 3 of his Restore Illinois plan, which is scheduled to begin May 29, he said Wednesday.

As half of Illinois restaurants have closed, sales have plummeted 80% to 90% and more than 300,000 people have been laid off, Sam Toia of the Illinois Restaurant Association said. Pritzker announced that bars and restaurants will be allowed to open outdoor seating with proper precautions and social distancing requirements when Phase 3 begins. Tables must be 6 feet apart and away from sidewalks.

“Epidemiologists now believe that summer offers us an opportunity if proper precautions are taken by restaurants and their patrons,” Pritzker said in announcing the changes to the original guidelines for restaurants and bars, which would not have allowed them to open until Phase 4 in late June.

Phase 3 permits all gatherings of 10 people or fewer.

Outdoor activities also will see some changes in Phase 3. Boating and camping with up to 10 people will be allowed. Illinois also will allow for the reopening of indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Golf courses can allow foursomes out on the same tee times with guidelines for golf carts.

All state parks can reopen May 29. All concessions also can reopen under guidelines set for retail and food service businesses in Phase 3.

Additionally, the state will provide guidance in the coming days on other outdoor activities such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges and paintball ranges.

Personal care services such as nail salons, beauty salons, spas, tattoo shops and barbershops can open in Phase 3 with Illinois Department of Public Health safety precautions.

Health clubs, gyms, and fitness studios will be allowed to hold 1-on-1 personal training sessions in indoor and outdoor facilities of up to 10 people.

With IDPH safety precautions in place, all retail stores will be permitted to open for indoor shopping.

The IDPH on Wednesday announced 100,418 COVID-19 cases and a total of 4,525 deaths across the state for the pandemic so far.

There were 2,288 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours and 147 new deaths.

There were 3,914 patients reported to be hospitalized, the lowest number since the IDPH began tracking COVID-19 hospitalizations. Of those, 1,005 were in intensive care units and 554 on ventilators, the lowest numbers that have been reported for COVID-19 patients in the hospital, according to the IDPH.

The Northeast Region reported a 17.4% positivity rate, on track for Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois Health Plan. The region also recorded 18.7% medical/surgical bed availability, 20.8% ICU bed availability and 64.4% ventilator availability. Hospital admission has decreased 44.4%.

The North Central Region reported a 7.1% positivity rate, also on track for Phase 3. The region recorded 40.9% medical/surgical bed availability, 43.5% ICU bed availability, and 61.1% ventilator availability. Hospital admission has decreased 33.8%.

After the governor Wednesday revoked the emergency rule that threatened businesses with misdemeanor charges for violating his stay-at-home order, legislation was introduced that still would fine the businesses.

Instead of enacting a temporary emergency rule that would have to be rewritten at the start of Phase 3, Pritzker said, he is moving forward with legislation that would enforce the rule in a “phased manner.”

"The state already has enforcement ability through IDPH closure order or the revocation of a business license. But those tools are harsher measures than anybody, including me, is interested in pursuing, " he said. "A business that chooses not to follow the rules can recover from a fine. It is much more expensive to deal with being stripped of a license or being forced to close."

The governor also announced a plan that will “make a big difference for 1.8 million Americans who receive SNAP food assistance benefits.”

To keep families safe and healthy, Illinois is expanding the ways which food stamp recipients can acquire groceries, Pritzker said. The federal government Wednesday morning approved Illinois’ plan to enable SNAP recipients to purchase groceries online, beginning June 2.

Walmart and Amazon have agreed to accept online orders from Illinois SNAP users.

New deaths announced include:

- Clinton County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s

- Cook County: 1 female 20s, 3 males 30s, 1 female 40s, 4 males 40s, 1 female 50s, 4 males 50s, 7 females 60s, 19 males 60s, 8 females 70s, 6 males 70s, 1 unknown 70s, 9 females 80s, 13 males 80s, 10 females 90s, 5 males 90s, 1 male 100+

- DuPage County: 1 male 20s, 1 male 40s, 2 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s

- Grundy County: 1 unknown 90s

- Kane County: 1 female 40s, 2 males 40s, 1 female 60s, 3 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 2 female 90s

- Kankakee County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s

- Lake County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 3 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 2 females 90s, 1 male 90s

- Madison County: 1 male 70s

- McDonough County: 1 female 80s

- McHenry County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 80s

- Union County: 1 male 80s

- Whiteside County: 1 female 80s

- Will County: 1 female 60s, 2 females 90s

- Winnebago County: 1 male 60s

- Woodford County: 1 female 90s