Illinoisans first learned details on how the state will reopen in phases during the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, but it turns out, that reopening plan has already begun.
The state is in the second of five phases outlined by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and phase three could begin in the coming weeks.
Pritzker says the plan will operate on a "region-by-region basis" and can be updated as the situation across the state develops. (Read the full plan below)
According to the governor, Illinois began phase two of its reopening plan on May 1, when a modified order took effect allowing some businesses to reopen with new guidelines. The order also required masks for residents in public places where social distancing isn't possible.
The earliest any location can begin entering phase three will be May 29, Pritzker said, though it remains unclear which regions might be able to do so.
"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.
In order to enter phase three, a region must see "the rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds" begin to stabilize or decline, the plan states.
Once in phase three, manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public "with capacity and other limits and safety precautions." All gatherings will remain limited to 10 or fewer people, the plan allows.
Face coverings and social distancing will still be required.
No dates were given for when regions could begin entering phase four. In order to do so, the region must see continued declines in the rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital, according to the plan.
Under phase four, all gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes and child care and schools reopen under guidance from the IDPH. Face coverings and social distancing will still be required.
In order to enter phase five, a vaccine or highly-effective treatment must be available for residents, Pritzker said. In addition, the region must see the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period.
In this phase, the economy can fully reopen, though safety precautions will still be in place, according to the plan.
It won't be until this phase that conventions, festivals and large events will again be permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open.
The plan notes, however, that should a resurgence occur, the state could revert back to phase one, which would re-implement the stay-at-home guidelines Illinois began in March.
Read the full plan below.