coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Phase 5 Begins Later This Week, New Vaccine Incentives

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Chicago and Illinois are set to enter Phase 5 of their reopening plans on Friday.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

What Are the Social Distancing Guidelines for Phase 5 in Illinois?

As Illinois enters Phase 5 of its reopening plan Friday, what will that mean for social distancing guidelines in the state?

According to guidance from the Gov. J.B. Pritzker, "Phase 5 removes requirements that businesses institute mandatory social distancing in seated venues."

Still, according to state guidelines, "businesses and venues should continue to allow for social distancing to the extent possible, especially indoors."

Complete guide to Phase 5 in Illinois.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 244 New COVID Cases, 14 Deaths, 33K Vaccinations

Health officials in Illinois reported 244 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus on Monday, along with 14 additional deaths and more than 33,000 new vaccine doses administered.

According to the latest metrics from the state of Illinois, the 244 new cases reported Monday are the fewest recorded in a single day since March of 2020. In all, 1,385,489 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began.

The 14 additional deaths reported Monday bring the state to 22,963 confirmed COVID fatalities. The state has also reported 2,409 deaths that it considers “probable” COVID fatalities.

More COVID stats for Illinois.

Do You Still Need to Wear a Mask in Phase 5?

Will entering Phase 5 lift masking guidelines in Illinois and Chicago? The answer is not entirely, but it does bring with it some changes.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week released the guidelines for Phase 5 and what exactly it means for residents.

Under the new reopening stage, which begins Friday, the state will lift its outdoor mask requirement in schools in line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the state's guidelines, upon entering Phase 5, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Illinois will continue to recommend face coverings for unvaccinated residents, however.

Complete guide to Phase 5 in Illinois.

Chicago Launches 'Rediscover Summer' Campaign

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman will launch a new campaign Monday aiming to "excite and engage Chicago’s young people in all the city has to offer them as Chicago safely reopens."

The summer-long campaign is being called "Rediscover Summer" and will offer over 200,000 summer opportunities and events for city youth.

"Youth and parents alike are encouraged to visit MyCHIMyFuture.org and follow @MyCHIMyFuture on Instagram for updates on how they can rediscover summer," the city said in a release.

Chicago Offering Incentives to Get More Residents Vaccinated for COVID-19

In hope of encouraging more Chicagoans to get vaccinated in the fight against COVID-19, city leaders are offering freebies in return.

In the city's Englewood neighborhood Saturday, residents were given free amusement park tickets and haircuts in exchange for getting vaccinated.

In the Chatham neighborhood, Chicago's beloved Josephine "Mother" Wade put on a similar vaccine event called "Rhythm and Brunch."

Visitors were given free meals and listened to live music all while receiving their shots.

Phase 5 Illinois: Here Are the Guidelines for Reopening This Week

Illinois is set to fully reopen this week and enter Phase 5 of the state's reopening plan Friday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week released the guidelines for Phase 5 and what exactly it means for residents.

While the phase is set to mark a full reopening, beginning on June 11, not all restrictions will be lifted.

Full breakdown of Illinois' Phase 5 guidelines.

Cubs Approved for 100 Percent Capacity at Wrigley Field

For the first time since September 2019, Wrigley Field will be at 100 percent fan capacity.

The city of Chicago and state of Illinois have approved the Cubs to host fans at full capacity beginning next Friday, June 11, the club announced Friday.

Perhaps fittingly, the capacity increase begins when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley, the two clubs' first meeting in Chicago this season.

The last time the Cubs hosted fans at full capacity was Sept. 19-22, 2019, also against the Cardinals. St. Louis swept the four-game series.

Chicago Health Officials Expand 'Hyperlocal Vaccine Outreach'

Chicago's health department joined several community leaders Friday "to discuss a further expansion of hyperlocal vaccine outreach."

The expansion will include door-to-door canvassing encouraging COVID vaccinations in 13 communities, which officials say have been identified as having the lowest vaccination rates.

Chicago Phase 5: What Will Change in the Weeks Ahead?

The city of Chicago made a significant announcement on Thursday, saying that it plans to join the rest of the state of Illinois in moving to Phase 5 of the coronavirus reopening plan.

Chicago and the rest of the state will move into that phase on June 11, with officials citing declining numbers of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths statewide, along with increasing numbers of coronavirus vaccinations statewide.

The big question for Chicago residents, and for the rest of the state, is what exactly Phase 5 entails.

At its most basic level, Phase 5 will remove all capacity limits and restrictions on all sectors of the economy, with “businesses, schools and recreation resuming normal operations with new safety guidance and procedures,” according to state officials.

A complete breakdown of Phase 5.

Illinois Working on Plans for COVID Vaccine Lottery to Encourage Shots, Pritzker Says

Illinois could soon have a vaccine lottery similar to ones introduced in other U.S. states aimed at boosting the number of COVID vaccinations, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday.

In an interview with NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern, Pritzker said the state is still working out details but he anticipates an announcement "relatively soon."

"The legislature gave us the ability through our lottery in the state to be able to offer something," Pritzker said. "Again, the details of which we haven't really worked out, but we're going to come forward with that as soon as we can."

Pritzker said his goal is to get 80-85% of eligible residents vaccinated through a variety of incentives, which have so far included things like Six Flags Great America tickets and free trap shooting range plays in the state.

More on the possible Illinois vaccine lottery.

People Who Recovered From COVID and Received Vaccine May Be Better Protected from Variants, Expert Says

If a person has successfully combatted COVD-19 and received a vaccination, that individual could be protected from variants of the virus, according to a Chicago expert.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live event Thursday that, based on recent studies, people who fought the coronavirus and are protected with the vaccine could have a strong enough immune system against any new variants.

"In the people who had recovered from COVID and been vaccinated -- what they saw was that basically their immune system had learned more, how to also protect them from variants...in addition to some immunity against, you know, the original strain of COVID," Arwady said.

More on protection against COVID-19 variants.

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