Illinoisans could soon see some changes as the state prepares for the next phase of reopening in the weeks ahead, but there will still be guidelines to follow.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday revealed details of a five-phased plan to reopen Illinois as the state remains under a stay-at-home order through May 30. He noted, however, that enforcement of the plan depends on residents and local police departments.
"At the state level, we don’t have the capacity or the desire to police the individual behavior of 12.7 million people," Pritzker said. "Enforcement comes in many forms, and our first and best option is to rely on Illinoisans working together to see each other through this pandemic. But we are also working with local law enforcement and have asked for their assistance to monitor for violations and consider taking actions when necessary, but that is not the option anyone prefers."
Currently, Illinois is in the second of five reopening stages aimed at bringing the state into a new normal. Some locations could enter the third stage as early as May 29, Pritzker said.
"We have to figure out how to live with COVID-19 until it can be vanquished – and to do so in a way that best supports our residents’ health and our healthcare systems, and saves the most lives," Pritzker said Tuesday, which also marked Illinois' deadliest day of the pandemic so far.
The plan, dubbed "Restore Illinois" will operate on a "region-by-region basis" and can be updated as the situation across the state develops, Pritzker said.
"Restore Illinois is a public health plan to safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold in our fight against COVID-19," he said. "This is also a data-driven plan that operates on a region-by-region basis, a recognition that reality on the ground looks different in different areas of our state."
As for businesses that violate the guidelines put in place in each phase or open too soon, Pritzker said they risk having their "permits or their licenses removed from them."
"There is action that the state can take and enforcement but we're trying not to," Pritzker said. "We're looking to ask people in their local communities to, you know, to remind the folks who are going against the order that they're putting other people at risk. And of course, I think most people, as we know, most people in Illinois are doing the right thing and they won't be patronizing those stores knowing that they may be spreading the virus."