By the end of the month, Illinoisians could dine al fresco at local restaurants – a change from the state’s initial reopening plan that limited restaurants to pickup and delivery services during phase three.
“We’re not out of the woods at all, but directionally things are improving, and with these advancements we are able to make some changes to allow for more activity during phase three of our plan to reopen. Restore Illinois, ”Governor JB said. Pritzker said from Springfield during his press briefing on Wednesday.
Illinois is currently in phase two of the five-phase plan, which divides the state into four regions, each of which can independently move through the phases – both forward and, if necessary, back.
The whole state is on track to move to phase three, called “Recovery,” by May 29. This phase allows gatherings of up to 10 people, although face coverings are still required and social distancing guidelines must be followed.
Public health officials on Wednesday reported 2,388 new cases of COVID-19 and 147 deaths within 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the statewide totals to 100,418 and 4,525, respectively.
Authorities also announced that the state had reached the lowest hospitalization rate to date since the start of the pandemic, with 3,914 people hospitalized; of these, 1,005 patients are in intensive care units and 554 are on ventilators.
“You slow the spread, curve the curve, keep our hospital capacity from being exceeded,” Pritzker said of residents who followed stay-at-home orders and public health guidelines, like wearing face covers and adhere to social distancing rules. “Because things are improving, we may allow more activity for phase three.”
Under the original plan, restaurants and bars would not have been allowed to reopen to customers until phase four, which can only take place at the end of June at the earliest.
Pritzker said he had changed his mind about when and how restaurants might reopen based on advice from public health officials, who said the summer offered a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to reopen them. safe restaurants – at least to al fresco diners.
Illinois Restaurant Association president Sam Toia said outdoor seating is a lifeline for establishments, although he recognizes that not all industry players will benefit.
“Today’s announcement provides a glow at the end of this very dark tunnel,” Toia said.
In order to reopen in phase three, restaurants and bars must put 6 feet of space between outdoor tables and keep them away from sidewalks, according to Pritzker, who said masks and social distancing measures for staff would be needed. Further guidance will be provided in the coming days.
Both Pritzker and Toia encouraged municipalities to do everything possible to allow restaurants and bars to offer outdoor seating, including closing streets, using parking lots and expanding sidewalks. “Let’s be innovative,” Toia said.
In addition to the terraces, all state parks and their concession stands will reopen during the third phase. Indoor and outdoor tennis facilities will also reopen, and golf courses may allow foursomes. Golf carts will be permitted to use, with one golfer per cart or immediate housekeeping per cart, according to the governor’s office.
The state will also provide advice on how other outdoor recreation businesses, such as shooting ranges and paintball lessons, can reopen.
Personal care departments, barbers, salons, tattoo parlors, spas and all retail stores may reopen with IDPH precautions and capacity limits. Officials are developing industry-specific guidelines based on conversations with industry executives and workers, according to the governor, who said those plans would be revealed in the coming days.
Pritzker also said local governments have the right to pass stricter regulations for businesses and recreational activities.
He also issued a warning. “The virus has not gone away,” Pritzker said, urging residents to continue to adhere to social distancing requirements and wear face coverings. “This road is long.
Contact Kristen Thometz: @kristenthometz | (773) 509-5452 | [email protected]
Coronavirus prevention tips and resources
Authorities advise taking preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, including:
– Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
—Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
—Sneeze or cough into a tissue, then throw the tissue away
– Limit contact with people, no matter how you feel
—Stay at home when you are sick
Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
– New onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath
—Congestion in the nasal sinuses or lungs
– Sore throat, body aches or unusual tiredness
If you think you have COVID-19:
Call your doctor before coming to their office. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the operator you think you have COVID-19. If possible, wear a mask before medical help arrives or presentation to a doctor’s office. More advice for those who think they have COVID-19.
-Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention
—Illinois COVID-19 website
—Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website
—IDPH COVID-19 Hotline: 800-889-3931
—IDPH COVID-19 email link
—City of Chicago COVID-19 website
—City of Chicago COVID-19 Hotline: 312-746-4835
—City of Chicago COVID-19 Email Link