coronavirus illinois

Chicago and Suburban Cook County ‘on Track' to Enter Tier 1, Bring Back Indoor Dining Saturday

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Chicago and suburban Cook County are "on track" to lift Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions on Saturday, state health officials said Friday, which would allow for the return of limited indoor dining, among other changes.

"If metrics continue to improve or are stable, regions 10 and 11 are on track to advance to Tier 1 on Saturday," The Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement, also announcing that Region 4 downstate had lifted its Tier 3 mitigations.

That move of Region 4 into Tier 2 means all 11 of Illinois' regions are out of Tier 3, the most restrictive of the mitigation levels that was implemented statewide in late November amid a second wave of the pandemic.

Tier 3 suspended indoor dining across Illinois and closed down museums and casinos, among other mitigations which lasted through the holiday season. Pritzker announced earlier this month that regions could begin to lift those most stringent restrictions on Jan. 15 if they met the criteria.

To move from Tier 2 to Tier 1, as Chicago and suburban Cook County are poised to do, a region must meet the following criteria:

  • Test positivity rate below 8% for three consecutive days (7-day average) AND
  • =20% available staffed ICU hospital beds for three consecutive days, on a 7-day rolling average; AND
  • No sustained increase in COVID patients in hospital (7-day average over 7 of 10 days)

Here's a look at the guidelines for Tier 1:

Bars and restaurants

  • Indoor service limited to lesser of 25% or 25 persons per room
  • No tables exceeding 4 people indoors
  • Suspend indoor service if not serving food
  • Outdoor, delivery and takeout service continues under updated hours

Cultural institutions

  • Open under Phase 4 rules

Gaming and casinos

  • Open under Phase 4 rules from Illinois Gaming Board


  • Open under Phase 4 rules

Household gatherings

  • Allowed with public health guidelines

Indoor fitness classes

  • Open under Phase 4 rules

Meetings, events and gatherings (excluding inperson school or sports)

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% overall capacity indoors and outdoors


  • Open under Phase 4 rules

Organized group recreational activities (fitness centers, sports, etc.)

  • Recreation, fitness centers and outdoor activities follow Phase 4 guidance
  • Sports follow measures in the All Sport Guidelines

State health officials announced Thursday that two Chicago-area counties - Will and Kankakee in Region 7 - had moved to Tier 1.

“With all regions of Illinois now out of Tier 3, we can now see that the entire state is headed down the right path,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Friday. “During the summer, we were on this same path.  We know that we must continue to take precautions and be smart about how we relax some of the mitigation measures, which are in place to protect our health and safety.”

The health department plans to "closely monitor test positivity, ICU bed availability, and the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19" and if numbers begin trending in the wrong direction, regions could see increased mitigations return.

For a full breakdown of what's allowed in each tier click here.

Chicago officials have said in recent days that they were hoping the city could soon reach the return of indoor dining.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday that Tier 1 could be in the near future, with the city potentially meeting the required metrics by the weekend.

"So here in Chicago, our number of COVID cases in the hospital is going down well, our ICU capacity adequate and our positivity had come down. And so really, as of now, still in restaurants and bars, there is no indoor service - that's allowed in the next tier, which we may possibly be able to move toward as early as, you know, possibly over the weekend, early next week, depending where this number goes," Arwady said.

"We need to be averaging under 8% consistently, and that's as the state calculates it, so we're still a few days, it could be a week away from this, but if progress continues in the right way, I think it is likely that we may be able to move all the way to the Tier 1 mitigation, which is when we are able to reopen indoor dining with a lot of restrictions on it - 25% capacity, only four people at a table, etc.," Arwady said. "So we're not there yet, but I want you to know that the way the numbers are heading, I am feeling very optimistic that hopefully within just a short period of time here, Chicago will be able to move ahead."

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