JB Pritzker

Pritzker: Details on Phased Reopening in Illinois Should be Released Soon

The governor says residents won't have to wait until May 30, the end of the current stay-at-home order, to learn how businesses will reopen

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Illinois’ current stay-at-home order won’t expire until May 30, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that residents won’t have to wait that long to learn details of a forthcoming phased reopening plan for the state.

During his daily coronavirus press briefing Monday, Pritzker said that details on a phased reopening plan should be available in the near future as the state looks to reopen businesses and ease restrictions put in place because of COVID-19.

“You don’t have to wait until May 30,” he said. “We’ve been thinking about this and working on it for some time now to make sure that we’re going to give people a view into how the phases might work and how many phases there are and what would work in each phase."

Other states, including Indiana, have introduced phased reopening measures. Gov. Eric Holcomb has moved most of the state to phase two of the five-phase plan, which allows for limited gatherings, eases travel restrictions and allows more non-essential businesses to open, but Illinois has yet to follow suit with a plan of its own as the number of coronavirus cases has continued to increase.

Even though more cases of the coronavirus are being reported each day, the percentage of positive tests continues to drop, with 19.2 percent of COVID-19 tests returning positive results as of May 3. The availability of ventilators and intensive care unit beds has also continued to increase, but Pritzker has continued to warn residents that a prolonged stretch of decline in terms of the number of cases and hospitalizations would be required to ease restrictions.

Still, with the positivity rate dropping, Pritzker wants to be sure that the state is letting data, not political passions, dictate how it will approach reopening businesses.

“It really needs to be based on data and metrics and that’s what we’re following really closely. I want to open it as fast we can, but it depends on data,” he said.

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