Pritzker: Broader reopening to begin next week

Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at a news conference in Chicago May 6, announcing that the state will move to the “bridge” phase of further reopening next week.

Daily Journal staff report

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced guidelines via press release Friday for Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan, which will mark a full reopening of all businesses and activities on June 11.

Phase 5 will start after weeks of new positive COVID-19 cases steadily decreasing and test positivity dropping under 2 percent. Over 67 percent of residents age 18 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

This guidance will mean businesses, large-scale events, amusement parks, among others, can operate at full capacity for the first time since COVID-19 regulations were established last spring.

“After a tremendously challenging year, Illinois has now reached a defining moment in our efforts to defeat COVID-19,” Pritzker said in a press release. “Thanks to the hard work of residents across the state, Illinois will soon resume life as we knew it before – returning to events, gatherings, and a fully reopened economy, with some of the safety guidelines we’ve adopted still in place. Our FY22 budget invests $1.5 billion in small business relief, tourism, job-creating capital projects and more and we look forward to getting these dollars to communities across our state as quickly as possible.”

Masks

Fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in Phase 5 except where required by laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Illinois will continue to recommend face coverings for unvaccinated persons, as well as all individuals while (1) on planes, buses, trains, other forms of public transportation and in transit hubs, such as airports and train/bus stations; (2) in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities, veterans’ homes, and long-term care and residential facilities; and (3) in healthcare settings.

School guidance is updated to align with CDC guidelines, including lifting the requirement for individuals to mask outdoors in most situations.

Economy

Under Phase 5, all sectors of the economy can resume at regular capacity. Large gatherings can resume without capacity limits. Phase 5 removes requirements that businesses mandate social distancing in seated venues as well as daily health screenings of employees and visitors.

Businesses and venues are advised to allow for social distancing to the extent possible, especially indoors, and may create additional public health mitigations as they deem appropriate, including requiring face coverings.

Learn more about Phase 5 practices by visiting IDPH’s website at dph.illinois.gov.