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Starting Friday, You Can Eat Inside Metro East Restaurants. Here’s What Else Changes In Illinois

Metro East restaurants will be able to offer dine-in food service beginning Friday. Many have only provided delivery or pick-up food during the pandemic.
Provided via the Belleville News-Democrat

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

Illinois moves into Phase 4 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s five-phased reopening plan Friday, bringing much anticipated changes to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Gatherings of up to 50 will be allowed in Phase 4. Under Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, which went into effect May 29, groups of more than 10 were banned.

All regions in Illinois were set to move into the new phase as of Monday morning.

Restaurants and bars can begin offering indoor service with capacity limits and safety precautions such as social distancing and extra sanitation measures. These businesses were already allowed to offer socially distanced service outside.

Outdoor visits to family in nursing homes are allowed according to guidance the state announced last week.

Wearing masks when out in public is still the norm, though businesses might have different rules on when masks should be worn. As before, public health officials say anyone who is sick should stay home.

Illinois saw adjustments to the statewide stay-at-home order on May 1, when Pritzker’s April directive expired and was replaced by a new one. The May order loosened some restrictions on retail, outdoor activities and manufacturing.

On May 5, the governor released the Restore Illinois plan, outlining the requirements to move from phase to phase. Transitioning required at least 28 days of data on positivity rates and hospitalization numbers, among other metrics.

The state’s next and final phase is a full reopening of the economy, but there is no timeline for that change. It requires either a COVID-19 vaccine, an effective treatment or no new cases for “a sustained period,” according to the reopening plan.

In the final phase, large events such as conventions and festivals can take place.

Here’s a list of Phase 4 changes Illinoisans can expect Friday. A complete list of detailed guidance is available at Illinois.gov/businessguidelines.

Entertainment and dining 

  • Meetings and events: Venues and meeting spaces can resume with the lesser of up to 50 people or 50% capacity. Multiple groups are permitted provided there is space to appropriately social distance and limit interaction between groups. This includes activities such as conferences and weddings.
  • Indoor and outdoor recreation: Revised guidelines allow select indoor recreation such as bowling alleys, skating rinks and clubhouses to reopen. Indoor recreation can operate with the lesser of up to 50 people or 50% of capacity. Outdoor recreation sites can have groups of up to 50, and multiple groups if there is space for social distancing and limited interaction between groups. Concessions are permitted with restrictions.
  • Indoor Dining: Indoor dining can reopen with groups of 10 or less and tables spaced six feet apart. Standing areas are limited to 25% of capacity.
  • Museums: Can reopen with up to 25% occupancy, but with interactive exhibits and rides closed. Guided tours should be limited to 50 or fewer. Museums should have a plan to limit congregation via advance ticket sales and timed ticketing. Concessions are permitted with restrictions.
  • Zoos: Can reopen with no more than 25% occupancy, but with interactive exhibits, indoor exhibits and rides closed. Guided tours should be limited to 50 or fewer. Zoos should have a plan to limit congregation via advance ticket sales and timed ticketing. Concessions are permitted with restrictions.
  • Cinema and Theater: Indoor seated theaters, cinemas and performing arts centers can allow admission with the lesser of up to 50 people or 50% of overall theater or performance space capacity (applies to each screening room). Outdoor capacity is limited to 20% of overall theater or performance space. Concessions are permitted with restrictions.
  • Outdoor seated spectator events: Outdoor spectator sports can resume with no more than 20% of seating capacity. Concessions are permitted with restrictions.
  • Film production: Allowed with no more than 50% of sound stage or filming location capacity. Crowd scenes should be limited to 50 or fewer.

Other industries

  • Youth and Recreational Sports: Revised guidelines allow competitive play and tournaments. Youth and recreational sports venues can operate at 50% of capacity, 20% seating capacity for spectators. Group sizes up to 50 with multiple groups are permitted during practice and competitive games in venues with space to appropriately social distance and limit interaction between groups. Concessions are permitted with restrictions.
  • Health and fitness centers: Revised guidelines allow gyms to open at 50% capacity with group fitness classes of up to 50 and new safety guidelines for indoors. Multiple groups permitted with space to appropriately social distance and limit interaction between groups.
  • Day camps: Water-based activities are permitted in accordance with IDPH guidelines. No more than 50% of capacity with group size of no more than 15 in a group, unless participants change weekly.

Kelsey Landis is a reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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