Increased restrictions will soon begin for one Illinois region already under heightened mitigations due to rising positivity rates during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
Region 1, which has been under increased restrictions, including the suspension of indoor dining and bar service, since the start of the month, will now move to "Tier 2 mitigations."
Beginning Sunday, gathering sizes must be limited to 10 people instead of 25 and only six people will be allowed per table at restaurants, a drop from 10, the governor said.
Here's the full list:
Bars and Restaurants
- Reduce party size from 10 to six individuals
Meetings, Social Events and Gatherings
- Maximum indoor/outdoor gathering size of 10 individuals
- Applicable to professional, religious, cultural and social group gatherings
- Not applicable to students participating in-person classroom learning
- This does not reduce the overall facility capacity dictated by general business guidance, such as office, retail, etc.
- Not applicable to sports, see sports guidance
- Maintain lesser of 25 people/25 percent of capacity
- No groups more than 10 individuals
- Does not apply to fitness
These mitigations do not apply to schools or polling places, officials said.
“We’ve said all along that if things don’t start to turn around after two weeks in Tier 1, we can add more stringent measures to help usher in the progress we need to see to get things more open again,” Pritzker said in a statement.
According to Pritzker, the region - which holds Rockford, Dixon and Galena - has seen its positivity rate rise by nearly two points since Oct. 14 - a trend seen statewide. As of Thursday, the region's positivity rate was at 11.9%, well above the 8% threshold required by the state.
The announcement comes on the same day heightened mitigations begin in another Illinois region.
Region 5, located in southeastern Illinois, saw new coronavirus mitigation standards put into place on Thursday, including a prohibition on indoor dining and bar service.
On Friday, two other regions, comprised of four suburban Chicago-area counties, will also see such mitigations take effect. That includes Regions 7 and 8, which are made up of Kane, DuPage, Will and Kankakee counties.
Pritzker warned that Region 4, which recently returned to Phase Four guidelines after several weeks of heightened restrictions, could soon be added to the list once again.
"Unfortunately, Region 4 has since ticked back up from a low rolling average of 5.8% to, as of this morning, a 7.8% average positivity rate - two full points in as many weeks, and rising," Pritzker said Thursday. "In other words, Metro East, it's time to step up and mask up - the work is not yet over. Nobody wants to go back to heightened mitigations, but we have to make sure our kids, our elderly residents, our immunocompromised family members, our frontline workers and our healthcare staff aren't carrying an undue burden of risk. We have got to get this under control."
Region 1, which borders Wisconsin and Iowa, and Region 4, which border Missouri, "carry the additional responsibility of navigating a situation where the massive surge of cases in our neighboring states will continue to have a spillover effect," Pritzker said.
"So as colder weather comes upon us - and brings flu season along with it - it's imperative that we take extra caution and extra care," he said.