coronavirus illinois

What Is Tier 2 in Illinois' Coronavirus Mitigation Plan? Here's a Breakdown

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

As Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that several Illinois regions will soon see stronger mitigations under Tier 2 of the state's coronavirus plan, here's a look at what Tier 2 entails and what the new restrictions will be.

Tier 2 is the second phase of enhanced mitigations under the plan Pritzker announced in July that divided the state into 11 health care regions to allow for a more focused approach to the pandemic response.

Regions 5, 7 and 8 will see the state's Tier 2 mitigation plan take effect Wednesday, the governor said. Region 5 is the southernmost portion of the state, Region 7 is Will and Kankakee counties in the south suburbs and Region 8 is Kane and DuPage counties in the western suburbs.

Each of Illinois' 11 regions were already under increased restrictions automatically triggered by increasing metrics like positivity rate in testing and increase in hospital admissions. All regions but one were previously under Tier 1 mitigations, which eliminated indoor dining, reduced gathering sizes and more.

Region 1 in northwest Illinois has been under Tier 2 mitigations since last month. Any region triggers Tier 2 restrictions if its positivity rate remains above the 8% threshold after 14 days under Tier 1 mitigations.

Under Tier 2, all mitigations of Tier 1 still apply, which include:


• All bars close at 11pm and may reopen no earlier than 6am the following day
• No indoor service
• All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
• No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
• Tables should be 6 feet apart
• No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
• No dancing or standing indoors
• Reservations required for each party
• No seating of multiple parties at one table


• All restaurants close at 11pm and may reopen no earlier than 6am the following day
• No indoor dining or bar service
• Tables should be 6 feet apart
No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
• Reservations required for each party
• No seating of multiple parties at one table

Social gatherings

• Applicable to professional, cultural and social group gatherings.
• Not applicable to students participating in-person classroom learning, sports or
polling places.
• This does not reduce the overall facility capacity dictated by general business
guidance such as office, retail, etc.
• No party buses
• Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00pm, are limited to 25 percent capacity, and
follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

Tier 2 under the plan adds further gathering size limitations, bringing the limit down to 10 people in both indoor and outdoor settings as well as in organized group recreational activities.

It also reduces table sizes for restaurants and bars to a maximum of six people at both bars and restaurants, which are still limited to outdoor dining and service only.

If a region continues to see a "sustained resurgence" of coronavirus metrics after 14 days with Tier 2 mitigations in place, the region may see stricter measures put into place under Tier 3.

If a region reaches Tier 3, elective surgeries will be suspended, gathering sizes will be restricted again, recreational spaces like gyms could be forced to close, salon and personal care services will be suspended, and nonessential retailers may be forced to shut their doors once again.

"It's the last thing I want to do but I'm ready to do it," Pritzker said Friday.

The governor has declined to give specifics on what restrictions could be ahead and though he has previously said another stay-at-home order was not on the table, on Friday, he said he can't guarantee what might happen in the coming weeks.

"I'm not looking at the broader mitigation of stay-at-home as something I would do in the coming days or week, but I can't guarantee you what it looks like two weeks from now or three weeks from now - I just don't know. None of us, frankly, expected that the entire country would be swept with an increase in COVID-19," he said.

Pritzker added Friday that he currently has no plans of shutting down outdoor dining.

Illinois reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday.

In the last week alone, data showed the state's case positivity rate climbed from 8% to 11.4%. In the last month, that number has nearly tripled.

Along with the increases in cases and positivity rates, the state has also seen a continued rise in hospitalizations due to the virus. According to IDPH data, 4,409 residents are currently in hospitals due to coronavirus-like illnesses. Of those patients, 857 are currently in intensive care units, and 376 are on ventilators.

"We're getting to the point where we're really concerned," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Thursday. "We're worried that there won't be a bed enough for everyone."

As of last week, Illinois was averaging 3,400 hospitalizations due to coronavirus, well above the 1,500 the state reported at the start of October.

"If the current trajectory continues, if our hospitals continue to fill up, if more and more people continue to lose their lives to this disease, we’re going to implement further statewide mitigations – which nobody wants to do," Pritzker warned.

He noted that the state is currently seeing new records in testing, but "the rate of growth in our positivity is far outpacing our growth in testing."

"The more we test, the more we are finding people infected with the virus," Pritzker said. "That's awful news. Offsetting that is that we are finding infected individuals earlier, both because people are getting tested when they are contact traced or when they may have been exposed to someone who is sick. Don't wait until you develop symptoms. The earlier you test, the more likely you can limit the spread of the virus to your family, friends or co-workers."

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