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Government, Politics & Issues

Illinois Will Loosen More COVID-19 Restrictions On May 14

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker talks about newly signed legislation that aims to create equity in the state's health care system at Touchette Regional Hospital and Gateway Regional Medical Center, at a news conference on April 30, 2021. The governor announced Thursday the state would be moving to a "bridge phase" before reaching the final phase of reopening.
Derik Holtmann
/
Belleville News-Democrat
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, shown here at a news conference on April 30, announced Thursday the state would be moving to a "bridge phase" in COVID-19 restrictions before reaching the final phase of reopening.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published by the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

Illinois will loosen COVID-19 restrictions May 14, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.

The “bridge phase” toward full reopening won’t eliminate the capacity limits that are included in Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan, but it does increase capacity for both indoor and outdoor events.

Illinois needed to meet two measurements to enter the bridge phase: 70% of residents 65 and older had to receive their first COVID-19 dose and hospitalizations, COVID-19 illnesses and deaths had to see no significant increase over 28 days.

Phase 5, which is the final phase of reopening COVID-19 restrictions, could start as early as June 11, Pritzker said.

For Phase 5, Illinois must continue to see hospitalizations and deaths hold steady or decline over a 28-day period, hospitals must maintain a 20% or greater ICU bed availability, and 50% of residents age 16 and over need to be vaccinated.

As of Thursday, Illinois is meeting three of those metrics: hospitalizations are trending downward, 22% of Illinois ICU beds are available, and 55.7% of Illinois residents ages 16 and over are vaccinated, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The trend for daily COVID-19 deaths, though, is increasing.

“Deaths are a lagging indicator, not an early indicator,” Pritzker said. “I don’t disregard it. It pains me every day, frankly. … But we make decisions moving forward on leading indicators.”

When the time comes, Illinois will move to Phase 5 as a whole, not regionally, as was the case for other phases of the Restore Illinois plan.

The statewide mask requirement will remain in place until the Centers for Disease Control says the mandate is no longer necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS FOR THE BRIDGE TO PHASE 5

  • Dining: Patrons seated at least 6 feet apart with parties of 10 or less; 30% indoor standing capacity; 50% outdoor capacity.
  • Health and fitness: 60% capacity; Group fitness classes of 50 or fewer indoors or 100 or fewer outdoors.
  • Offices, personal care businesses, retail, amusement parks, museums, film production, spectator events, theaters and performing arts, zoos: 60% percent.
  • Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events: 30 people per 1,000 square feet.
  • Flea and farmers markets: Indoor — 15 people per 1,000 square feet; Outdoor — 30 people per 1,000 square feet.
  • Meetings, conferences and conventions: Lesser of 1,000 people or 60% capacity.
  • Recreation: Indoor — Lesser of 100 people or 50% capacity; Outdoor — Maximum groups of 100; multiple groups permissible.
  • Social events: Indoor — 250 people; Outdoor — 500 people.

COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS FOR PHASE 4

  • Dining: Patrons seated 6 feet apart with parties of less than 10; 25% standing capacity.
  • Health and fitness: 50% capacity limit, group fitness classes of 50 or fewer indoors or 100 or fewer outdoors.
  • Offices, personal care businesses, retail, and film production: 50% capacity.
  • Museums and amusement parks: 25% capacity.
  • Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events: 15 people per 1,000 square feet.
  • Flea and farmers markets: 25% capacity or 15 people per 1,000 square feet.
  • Meetings, conferences and conventions: Venues with capacity for less than 200 people — Lesser of 50 people or 50% capacity; For those with over 200-person capacity — Lesser of 250 people or 25% capacity.
  • Recreation: Indoor — Lesser of 50 people or 50% capacity; Outdoor — Maximum groups of 50; multiple groups permissible.
  • Social events: Indoor — Lesser of 50 people or 50% capacity; Outdoor — Lesser of 100 people or 50% capacity
  • Spectator events (ticketed and seated), and theater and performing arts: Indoor venue with less than 200-person capacity — Lesser of 50 people or 50% capacity; Outdoor venue or indoor venue with more than 200-person capacity — 25% capacity
  • Zoos: 25% capacity, lesser of 50 people or 50% at indoor 60% exhibits

Megan Valley is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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