coronavirus illinois

Lake, McHenry Counties Release Statement After New Coronavirus Restrictions Announced

Region 9, which includes suburban Lake and McHenry counties, saw its positivity rate exceed 8% for multiple days, putting it on Illinois' enhanced mitigations plan

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Two more Chicago-area counties will soon be under increased coronavirus restrictions as Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday yet another region had triggered the state's mitigation plan.

Region 9, which includes suburban Lake and McHenry counties, saw its positivity rate exceed 8% for multiple days, putting it on Illinois' enhanced mitigations plan.

“The rate of new infections is surging in our region—a steeper curve than we saw in the spring,” Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department, said in a statement. “We successfully flattened the curve then, and we can do it again. Our success depends on all businesses and residents doing their part, participating with contact tracing if you are called, and being extremely cautious to eliminate chances for this virus to spread. Please do not let your guard down in social settings, even around close friends and family who don’t live in your home.”

The restrictions will take effect beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Pritzker said, and will include the shutting down of indoor dining and bar service and the limiting of group sizes to no more than 25 people.

Region 9 is now the eighth of the state's 11 regions to see the additional mitigations.

“We will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and keep the region informed about community transmission,” Melissa Adamson, public health administrator for the McHenry County Department of Health, said in a statement. “If we work together, we could avoid further mitigations and potentially see a return to Phase 4 restrictions in the next two weeks. But that’s a goal that can only be achieved by following those preventative measures we’ve stressed for the past several months and working with your local health department to complete their case investigations.”

The full list of new restrictions include:


  • No indoor service 
  • All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m. 
  • 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 


  • No indoor dining or bar service 
  • All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m. 
  • Outside dining 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 

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings 

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity 
  • No party buses 
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable 

“These resurgence mitigations aim to cut down on some of the highest high-risk activities until we bring down the positivity rate in a region once again," Pritzker said in a statement. "I know this virus is hard on everyone. But this battle isn’t going away by itself. We have to manage our way through it with the tools we have available to us. And there are many of those tools that nearly everyone in our state has available to join the fight."

Region 9's average positivity rate stood at 8.4% Wednesday, state officials said, marking an increase from 4.8% in September and 3.1% in June. Pritzker's office said coronavirus-related hospital admissions have also increased in that timeframe - now three times as high as in September and five times as high as they were in June.

“With Region 9 being added to the list of regions in mitigation, we are getting close to the entire state implementing mitigation measures,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.  “This is not just a warning, but a call to action.  We continue to move backwards, losing all the ground we had gained over the summer. We turned the state around once, let’s do it again. Limit your potential exposures by wearing a mask, physically distancing, and limiting in-person gatherings. It will take all of us working together to beat this virus.” 

The state health department said it plans to track the positivity rate in Region 9 over the coming days "to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place."

The enhanced restrictions may be lifted if the region's positivity rate averages 6.5% or lower and if there is a decrease in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illnesses over a three-day period, and if the average hospital and ICU bed availability is greater than 20% for seven days.

If the positivity rate continues to climb and hospital admissions increases for seven out of 10 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied, state officials said.

“I know that people are fed up with wearing masks and socially distancing – I am, for sure. But we cannot lower our positivity rate and lift these new restrictions by wishing them gone – we need to work together," McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said in a statement. "We need to follow the CDC guidelines of masking, washing hands and maintaining 6-foot distance. Working together, we’ll get through this quicker. We owe it to our small businesses and our neighbors to do everything we can.”

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