Reopening Illinois

A protester holds a sign during a rally calling for the state to reopen the economy.

The Associated Press

CHICAGO — Barbers and their customers will have to wear face masks. Restaurants will be able to serve diners outdoors only, with parties no larger than six people, spaced apart. And youth sports may hold practices and drills for 10 or fewer people, as long as the water fountains are shut off and other rules are followed.

With coronavirus-related restrictions set to be loosened this week in almost all of Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday released his most detailed guidelines yet for businesses and organizations planning to reopen.

The Democrat’s administration also issued a toolkit for businesses, with posters, signage and checklists to help businesses implement the new safety guidelines.

Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, issued in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to be eased on Friday for all of the state except the northeast region that includes Chicago, which is following its own timeline.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said Chicago restaurants won’t be able to reopen with the rest of the state because the city isn’t achieving metrics in her plan for gradually loosening restrictions. Lightfoot is hopeful that can happen in early June.

Critics argue Pritzker’s restrictions have been too tough and too broadly applied, causing economic damage in parts of the state not as hard hit by the pandemic.

Pritzker said Sunday that the reopening, known as Phase 3 of his Restore Illinois plan, will bring about 700,000 people in Illinois back to the workplace.

While the state has set form detailed guidelines for varying industries, it’s also shared generalized guidance for businesses preparing to reopen.

The minimum guidelines are as follows:

• All employees who can work from home should continue to do so.

• Employees should wear face coverings over their nose and mouth when within 6 feet of others (cloth masks preferred). Exceptions may be made where accommodations are appropriate.

• Social distance of at least 6 feet should be maintained between non-household individuals unless participating in activities permitted under Phase 3 guidelines.

• Employer should provide hand-washing capability or sanitizer to employees and if applicable, customers.

• Frequent hand washing by employees, and an adequate supply of soap/paper towels and/or disinfectant/hand sanitizer should be available.

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