illinois covid restrictions

What Are Illinois' COVID Tiers and Phases? Here's a Breakdown

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Monday marked a day of major changes as several Illinois regions were allowed to loosen their coronavirus restrictions even further as the state changed its mitigation guidelines. Sandra Torres reports.

Most of Illinois' 11 regions moved between tiers and phases of the state's COVID-19 reopening plan on Monday when officials announced a change in the criteria needed to loosen restrictions.

What exactly are the state's tiers and phases - and how do regions move between them? Here's a breakdown:

Phases 4 and 5 are part of the original "Restore Illinois" plan that Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled last year at the outset of the pandemic. Tiers 1, 2 and 3 are "resurgence mitigations" that were implemented as the state's cases and deaths spiked amid a second wave of the coronavirus in the fall.

All 11 of the state's regions were placed in the most restrictive Tier 3 on Nov. 20, suspending indoor dining across Illinois and closing 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.

On Monday, Illinois officials announced that the state is launching multiple health care staffing contracts to help increase hospital staffing, thereby increasing the number of “staffed” beds available for coronavirus patients. That change means the hospital bed availability metric used in determining a region's tier or phase will now include ICU beds, but not medical or surgical bed limits, in the region.

As a result, the majority of Illinois’ regions were able to lift some of the mitigations in place as they moved into different tiers or phases of the plan.

Two regions dropped back to Phase 4, three are now in Tier 1 and four others are in Tier 2, while just two regions remain in the most restrictive Tier 3.

Two regions remain in Tier 3, the most restrictive of the tiers. Those regions and the counties they include are:

Region 4: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington

Region 7: Kankakee, Will

Here's a look at the guidelines for Tier 3:

Bars and restaurants

  • Suspend indoor service
  • Outdoor, delivery and takeout service continues under updated hours
  • No tables exceeding 6 people

Cultural institutions

  • Operations paused

Gaming and casinos

  • Operations paused

Hotels

  • Limited to registered guests
  • Fitness centers closed or operating on reservation model at 25% capacity

Household gatherings

  • Limiting to household members is encouraged

Indoor fitness classes

  • Operations paused

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

  • No gatherings in meeting rooms, banquet halls, party rooms, private clubs, etc.
  • Funerals limited to 10 family members of decedents

Offices

  • Remote work encouraged

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

  • Indoor sports and recreation paused
  • Outdoor sports and recreation, individual training allowed
  • Groups limited to 10 people

A region is placed under Tier 3 mitigations if it sees a test positivity rate ≥ 13% for three consecutive days within a 14-day monitoring period under Tier 2 mitigations (7-day average).

To move from Tier 3 to Tier 2, a region must meet the following criteria:

  • Test positivity rate below 12% 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
  • Sustained decline in COVID patients in hospital (7-day average over 7 of 10 days)

Four regions in the state, including most of the Chicago area, are in Tier 2 as of Monday. Those regions and the counties they include are:

Region 8: DuPage, Kane

Region 9: Lake, McHenry

Region 10: Suburban Cook

Region 11: City of Chicago

Here's a look at the guidelines for Tier 2:

Bars and restaurants

  • Suspend indoor service
  • Outdoor, delivery and takeout service continues under updated hours
  • No tables exceeding 6 people

Cultural institutions

  • Open under Phase 4 rules

Gaming and casinos

  • Open under Phase 4 rules from Illinois Gaming Board

Hotels

  • Limited to registered guests
  • Fitness centers closed or operating on reservation model at 25% capacity

Household gatherings

  • Limiting to 10 people is encouraged

Indoor fitness classes

  • Groups limited to 10, including fitness classes

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

  • Limit to 10 guests indoors and outdoors

Offices

  • Open under Phase 4 rules

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

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% overall capacity indoors and outdoors
  • Sports follow measures in the All Sport Guidelines

A region is placed under Tier 2 mitigations if it sees a test positivity rate between 8% and 12% over a 14-day monitoring period under Tier 1 mitigations (7-day average).

To move from Tier 2 to Tier 1, 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)

Three regions are under Tier 1 mitigations as of Monday. Those regions and the counties they include are:

Region 1: Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Winnebago

Region 2: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Woodford

Region 6: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, Vermillion

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

Hotels

  • 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

Offices

  • 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

A region is placed under Tier 1 mitigations if it sees a test positivity rate ≥ 8% for three consecutive days over a 14-day monitoring period (7-day average) OR a sustained increase in test positivity rate (7-day average over 7 of 10 days) and either (A) Sustained increase in COVID patients in hospital (7-day average over 7 of 10 days), or (B) Staffed hospital and ICU beds < 20% for three consecutive days (3-day average)

To move from Tier 1 to Phase 4, a region must meet the following criteria:

  • Test positivity rate ≤ 6.5% for three consecutive days (7-day average) AND
  • Staffed hospital and ICU beds ≥ 20% for three consecutive days (3-day average) AND
  • No sustained increase in COVID patients in hospital (7-day average over 7 of 10 days)

The regions currently in Phase 4 and the counties they include are:

Region 3: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott

Region 5: Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White, Williamson

Here's a look at the guidelines for Phase 4:

Gatherings: All gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed with this limit subject to change based on latest data and guidance

Travel: Travel should follow IDPH and CDC approved guidance

Health care: All health care providers are open

Education and child care: P-12 schools, higher education, all summer programs, and child care open with IDPH approved safety guidance

Outdoor recreation: All outdoor recreation allowed

Businesses:

  • Manufacturing: All manufacturing open with IDPH approved safety guidance
  • “Non-essential” businesses: All employees can return to work with IDPH approved safety guidance; Employers are encouraged to provide accommodations for COVID-19-vulnerable employees
  • Bars and restaurants: Open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance
  • Personal care services and health clubs: All barbershops, salons, spas and health and fitness clubs open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance
  • Entertainment: Cinema and theaters open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance
  • Retail: Open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance