(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)
Most of Illinois entered phase three of the state's reopening plan Friday, sparking the reopening of many businesses with capacity limitations and social distancing.
The new phase began for all of Illinois' health regions, with the exception of Chicago, which is set to enter the next stage of its own reopening Wednesday.
Illinois has been under a stay-at-home order for more than two months, though the state began phase two of its reopening plan at the start of the month, easing few restrictions.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (May 29):
Pritzker to Sign Executive Order Ending Illinois’ Stay-at-Home Restrictions
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday he planned to sign an executive order effectively lifting the stay-at-home restrictions that had been imposed on the state's residents for more than two months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The comments came on the same day most of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago, entered Phase Three of Pritzker's statewide reopening plan.
1,622 New Coronavirus Cases Reported as Illinois Enters Phase 3 of Reopening
More than 1,600 new coronavirus cases were reported in Illinois as nearly all of the state eases restrictions, entering a third phase of reopening Friday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed 1,622 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 117,455.
With an additional 86 deaths, fatalities so far across the state now total 5,270, health officials said.
As of Friday, 3,599 people remained hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 980 were in intensive care units and 593 were on ventilators.
Illinois Malls Begin Reopening
With Illinois now in phase three of reopening, major malls across the state have announced their plans for opening doors once again.
Though some started allowing customers as early as Friday, others have announced plans to reopen in the coming days.
But the reopenings each come with their own set of changes.
Several Chicago Streets Will Close to Make Room for Pedestrians, Outdoor Dining
Several streets in Chicago will close to traffic so that pedestrians, cyclists and area businesses can have more room while implementing social distancing, the city's mayor announced Friday.
Six streets will make up a pilot program that converts residential streets and commercial corridors for "alternative uses," such as outdoor dining as the city prepares for phase three of reopening.
The move will also provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists to safely utilize while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
These six streets will be among the first in the program:
- Chatham: 75th Street from Calumet Avenue to Indiana Avenue
- Lakeview: Broadway from Belmont Avenue to Diversey Parkway
- Little Village: 26th Street from Central Park to Harding Avenue
- Rush & Division: Rush Street from Oak Street to Cedar Street
- Near West Side: Taylor Street from Loomis Street to Ashland Avenue
- West Loop: Randolph Street from Expressway no further than Elizabeth Street
Salvation Army Thrift Stores to Reopen in Illinois With Changes
After being closed for two months, Salvation Army thrift stores are preparing to reopen across Illinois next week, but there will be noticeable changes.
While suburban Chicago thrift stores will reopen on June 2, thrift stores in the city of Chicago will reopen on June 3.
All shoppers will be required to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. Employees will have their temperature checked every time they report to work and have to fill out a travel questionnaire to make sure they haven’t come into contact with anyone else exhibiting coronavirus symptoms.
Store hours will be limited in order to give employees more time to thoroughly clean and disinfect stores.
You’ll also notice plexiglass shields at cash registers. Fitting rooms will remain closed, for now.
Illinois Enters Phase 3 of Reopening Plan: Here’s What’s Changing
Much of Illinois will look very different beginning Friday.
With the exception of Chicago, the state entered a third phase of reopening under the Restore Illinois plan, meaning additional businesses will be allowed to resume certain services and people can begin gathering in small groups while social distancing.
But many businesses won't look the same as they once did. And there will still be some restrictions for residents.
Gatherings of up to 10 people will now be allowed, salons and gyms can reopen with new guidelines and restaurants will be able to offer outdoor seating.
Churches Claim Success as Pritzker Announces New Worship Guidelines
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued new guidelines for churches and religious services Thursday as most of the state prepares to move into Phase Three of its reopening plan.
The Illinois Department of Public Health released a nine-page document laying out recommendations - not mandates - as it relates to holding worship services.
Under modified guidelines, health officials still recommend that no more than 10 people attend a religious service, but if not possible, they said churches church limit attendance to 25% of a a building's capacity or cap attendance at 100 individuals.
Pritzker Reveals the Earliest Illinois Could Enter Phase 4
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced regions could potentially shift into phase four of the plan as soon as late June amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at Thursday’s press briefing, Pritzker provided insight into when the reopening plan could shift into the next stage.
“Just as this 28-day period of tracking started when we moved from phase one to phase two on May 1, our next health metrics calendar will restart tomorrow and run for the same period, meaning that regions that meet the metrics could move into Phase 4 possibly as early as Friday, June 26th,” Pritzker said.