Illinois' Tier 3 mitigations aren't another stay-at-home order, but the state's governor warned that if they don't work, another order would be next.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced added restrictions across the state are set to begin this week as coronavirus growth is now exponential in every region of the state, statewide positivity rate is at record highs and hospitalizations have surpassed the spring peak.
"If these numbers don't start to curb, if they don't start to bend this curve, then it is clear that we're going to have to take more difficult measures and go to a stay-at-home order," Pritzker said in announcing the new statewide restrictions.
Beginning Friday, new guidelines will be in place for retailers, gyms, hotels, restaurants, bars and more, according to state officials.
It's a move Pritzker said he hopes will "avoid another stay-at-home order."
"I’m hopeful that by limiting our in-person interactions now, we will succeed at avoiding a stay at home order like what we had in the spring," he said.
The state's top doctor said the stay-at-home order is the "final trigger."
"These are all impossible decisions. We stepped back from a full stay-at-home order," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. "That's the final trigger, obviously. But if everyone cooperates with us on this pause, we don't have to go to the full extreme. And so I hope everybody sees how much we're trying to give some people something while trying to make sure that we protect the health and safety of the people of Illinois."
All of Illinois had been under some sort of heightened mitigations prior to Tuesday's announcement, but much of the state, with the exception of a few regions, was under Tier 1 mitigations.
The state's health department said officials will track metrics over the next 14 days to determine "if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place."
The latest warning came after state health officials issued guidance recommending that all residents "stay home as much as possible, leaving only for necessary and essential activities, such as work that must be performed outside the home, COVID-19 testing, visiting the pharmacy, and buying groceries."
IDPH also recommended everyone work with employers to work from home unless necessary to be in the workplace and issued another warning that "attending even small gatherings that mix households or traveling to areas that are experiencing high rates of positivity, is not advised and is potentially dangerous."
Stay-at-home advisories took effect Monday morning in Chicago and suburban Cook County as coronavirus metrics continue to rise.