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Governor JB Pritzker recently announced a phased, regionally-based plan to reopen the state, guided by health metrics and with distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase. Restore Illinois divides the state into four medical service regions and defines five phases of reopening based on a region’s infection rates, hospital capacity, testing capabilities, and other factors. Read the full plan here and a Restore Illinois FAQ here.
Phase 1 - Rapid Spread: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already, and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.
Phase 2 - Flattening: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory. Nonessential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.
How to Move from Phase 2 to Phase 3:
Phase 3 - Recovery: Manufacturing, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen subject to safety precautions, including capacity limits. Fitness facilities may offer outdoor programs and one-on-one training, and limited childcare and summer programs may operate with restrictions. Gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people. Face coverings and social distancing measures will continue.
How to Move from Phase 3 to Phase 4:
Phase 4 - Revitalization: The rate of infection among those surveillance tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. Gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
How to Move from Phase 4 to Phase 5:
Phase 5 - Illinois Restored: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals, and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor’s plan stresses that the progression is reliant on public health data, and that resurging infection rates could require reimplementation of heightened restrictions. The plan for widespread testing and contact tracing may also extend the timetable for regions moving transitioning through phases.