Illinois fully reopened Friday, entering Phase 5 of the state's reopening plan, but what would force the state to bring back coronavirus restrictions?
While the removal of occupancy limits and other rules represents a significant step forward in the COVID pandemic, state officials have cautioned residents that it is possible for the state to move back to previous phases in the following instances:
- If hospital admissions for COVID-19 illnesses increase to more than 150 hospitalizations per day over a 10-day monitoring period.
- If the number of COVID patients in hospitals climbs above 750 and stays there for more than 10 days.
- If the state’s mortality rate increases and goes above a 0.1 daily average.
- If ICU bed availability statewide drops below 20% over a 10-day monitoring period.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who announced last month that the state was on pace to move into the final phase of its reopening plan, made the move to Phase 5 official, citing continuing declines in COVID metrics and increases in vaccinations.
Still, while the phase does mark a full reopening, not all restrictions have been lifted.
According to the governor, entry into Phase 5 means "businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and seated-spectator venues, among others, will be able to operate at full capacity for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic."
The state also lifted its outdoor mask requirement in schools in line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What's changing in Phase 5?
- Upon entering Phase 5, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
- Under Phase 5, all sectors of the economy can resume at regular capacity. Phase 5 also marks the return of traditional conventions, festivals, and large events without capacity restrictions. Large gatherings of all sizes can resume across all industry settings, and Phase 5 removes requirements that businesses institute mandatory social distancing in seated venues as well as daily health screenings of employees and visitors.
What guidelines are still in place?
- Illinois will continue to recommend face coverings for unvaccinated persons, as well as all individuals on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation; in transportation hubs, such as airports and train and bus stations; in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities, veterans’ homes, and long-term care facilities, group homes, and residential facilities; and in healthcare settings.
- Businesses and venues should continue to allow for social distancing to the extent possible, especially indoors. Businesses and venues may also continue to put in place additional public health mitigations as they deem appropriate, including requiring face coverings.