Illinois is on track to enter Phase 4 of reopening this week, allowing restaurant dine-in services to resume operations and theaters to reopen at a limited capacity, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced on Monday.
The criteria to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 includes a positivity rate under 20 percent and “increasing no more than 10 percentage points over a 14-day period,” no “overall increase” in hospital admissions for coronavirus-like illness, and “available surge capacity of at least 14 percent of ICU beds, medical and surgical beds, and ventilators,” per the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
The state has met the metrics to move into the fourth phase of reopening, “reducing new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, with the average 7-day statewide case positivity rate falling to just 2.5 percent as of June 20,” as reported by WGN9.
Under Phase 4, bars, restaurants, gyms, theaters, retail stores, and personal care facilities can resume operations with capacity limitations and use of proper safety protocols. Gatherings can move from a 10 person limit to 50 or “50% of overall theater or performance space capacity,” and “P-12 schools, higher education, all summer programs, and child care [can] open with IDPH approved safety guidance”:
@GovPritzker announced new and updated guidelines to help businesses safely reopen in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan starting 6/26.
✅Review industry-specific guidelines
✅Print & display health and safety signage
➡️https://t.co/tw9LUjNS2r #RestoreIllinois #BusinessToolkit pic.twitter.com/h9w6F5W1cx
— Illinois Dept. of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (@IllinoisDCEO) June 22, 2020
IDPH reserves the right to move the state, or regions of the state, back into phase three, should they experience a “significant outbreak” in a region, sustained rise in the positivity rate, sustained increase in hospital admissions for those experiencing a coronavirus-like illness, or a reduction in hospital capacity.
“Over the last four months, Illinoisans have pulled together with the common mission of keeping each other safe,” Pritzker said in a statement.
“By staying home and practicing social distancing, the rate of new COVID-19 cases continues to drop and each region throughout the state is prepared to move to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan,” he continued.
“Science and data are the overarching guardrails for how Illinois will keep moving forward. By continuing to wear face coverings and following the guidance from health experts we can continue to safely reopen our economy and move forward together,” he added.
There is only one phase beyond Phase 4, dubbed “Illinois Restored.” It is largely contingent on the availability of testing, tracing, and treatment of the virus throughout the state, as well as the development of a vaccine:
Testing, tracing and treatment are widely available throughout the state. Either a vaccine is developed to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, a treatment option is readily available that ensures health care capacity is no longer a concern, or there are no new cases over a sustained period. All sectors of the economy reopen with new health and hygiene practices permanently in place. Large gatherings of all sizes can resume. Public health experts focus on lessons learned and building out the public health infrastructure needed to meet and overcome future challenges. Heath care equity is made a priority to improve health outcomes and ensure vulnerable communities receive the quality care they deserve.
Pritzker’s announcement comes as coronavirus cases rise nationwide, sparking concerns as states continue in the reopening process. While cases remain on the rise, deaths remain on a downward trajectory, as many of the new positive cases appear to be among the younger, less vulnerable population, some of whom are not exhibiting symptoms of the virus.