Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Pritzker announces 5-phase plan to re-open Illinois

By Jim Hagerty

CHICAGO – The Illinois economy will re-opened in five phases, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday.

Titled “Restore Illinois,” the plan separates the state into four regions and will allow cities in those regions to move through the five phases as COVID-19 data permits. The regions are Northeast, North-Central, Central and Southern.

Phase 1“Rapid Spread:” This phase was sparked by the arrival of coronavirus in Illinois, the governor’s disaster proclamation his first stay-at-home order issued March 20. Phase 1 also saw exponential growth of new COVID-19 cases and an increase in hospitalizations. Additional hospitals were spun up and more health care professionals were hired.

Phase 2 “Flattening the Curve:” Citizens remain home under the extension of the stay-at-home order while schools are closed for the remainder of the year. Face coverings are required and some businesses may open with restrictions. Regions may move out of Phase 3 after 28 days with acceptable infection and hospitalization rates at the direction of public health officials.

Phase 3  “Recovery:” The infection and hospitalization rates continue to decrease as the state ramps up COVID-19 testing and dozens of sites. Outdoor gatherings of 10 or fewer people are allowed. Face coverings and social distancing are in place. Offices, salons, barbershops, manufacturing and gyms (outdoor activities and personal training only) may open. Regions may move out of Phase 3 after 28 days with acceptable infection and hospitalization rates.

Phase 4  “Revitalization:” Gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed in Phase 4. Bars, restaurants, and spas may open with capacity limits. Face coverings are required in public. Day cares, schools and higher-education may resume under guidance of the IDPH. Regions may move out of Phase 4 after 28 days with acceptable infection and hospitalization rates.

Phase 5 – “Illinois Restored:” The economy would fully re-open in Phase 5. Conventions, large church services, concerts, festivals and large outdoor gatherings will resume. All businesses will be up and running with new COVID-19 safety guidelines in place, as potential coronavirus treatments or vaccines dictate.

The state remains under a stay-at-home order (Phase 2) through May 30.

“We have to figure out how to live with COVID-19 until it can be vanquished – and to do so in a way that best supports our residents’ health and our healthcare systems, and saves the most lives,” Pritzker said Tuesday. “Restore Illinois is a public health plan to safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold in our fight against COVID-19,” he said. “This is also a data-driven plan that operates on a region-by-region basis, a recognition that reality on the ground looks different in different areas of our state.”

The earliest any region could move into Phase 3, Pritzker added, is May 29.


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