Cook County health officials revealed their plan for the move to Phase 5 and a full reopening, removing all capacity limits and restrictions.
Conventions, festivals and other large events are allowed to function at full capacity in Cook County in Phase 5, according to health officials, allowing for businesses and schools to resume pre-COVID-19 operations.
Here are other guidelines from the Cook County Department of Public Health:
- Fully vaccinated people at businesses and venues are not required to wear a face covering nor social distance both inside and outside
- Businesses and municipalities are allowed to continue requiring face coverings and social distancing
- Unvaccinated people are advised to wear a face covering and keep six feet of social distancing at all businesses and venues
- Unvaccinated people may remove their mask outdoors in areas where they are able to maintain six feet of distance
- Residents in schools and day care settings are advised to follow guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and Illinois Department of Public Health.
“It’s been a long 18 months, but we continue see a steady improvement in metrics while the vaccination rates have climbed, which allows us to return to a more normal way of life,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior public health medical officer and co-lead for the CCDPH.
Health officials noted that should the county see a resurgence in metrics, the county could go back to a prior phase. The 7-day rolling average number of COVID cases in Cook County was 131 as of Thursday, down from 216 last week.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has confirmed that the state will move into Phase 5 of its coronavirus reopening plan, eliminating all capacity limits for businesses and large-scale events as COVID metrics continue to drop in the state.
Pritzker, who announced last month that the state was on pace to move into the final phase of its reopening plan, made the official announcement Thursday, citing continuing declines in COVID metrics and increases in vaccinations.
“A strong economy requires that people not only feel safe, but truly be safe, as they go about their lives as workers, neighbors, consumers, and friends – and thanks to the lifesaving power of vaccinations, that day is finally here for Illinois,” Pritzker said in a statement.“I invite all Illinoisans to feel the hope and joy of this moment while also recognizing that this pandemic is still very present for the world at large – not to mention those here at home who have not been or cannot be vaccinated. As we take this next step forward, let’s do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to community, and to making each day together count. You did it, Illinois.”
Under Phase 5 of the state’s reopening plan, all capacity limits on businesses, large-scale events, conventions and amusement parks will be lifted. Professional sports teams, including the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, will be permitted to have full crowds at their games, and a host of other festivals and concerts are now permitted to move forward.
Those capacity restrictions will also be fully lifted for restaurants and other businesses, according to state officials.
The news comes as the state continues to report record-low numbers of new cases, positivity rates, and other key metrics. As of Thursday, the state has a positivity rate of just 1.3% on tests, and 764 people are hospitalized due to COVID in Illinois, one of the lowest numbers reported during the pandemic.
More than 50% of the state’s adult residents are now fully vaccinated against COVID, with more than 68% having received at least one dose of the vaccine.
For a full list of reopening procedures, and a list of locations that will be reopening, residents can check the state's COVID website or the NBC 5 app.