Coronavirus Illinois: COVID-19 cases top 110K with over 4.8K deaths; Pritzker releases Phase 3 reopening guidelines

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(Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash)

By Alexis McAdams, ABC7 News

Governor JB Pritzker has released guidelines tailored to specific industries such as restaurants, retail and health and fitness centers as Illinois prepares to enter Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan Friday.

On Sunday, Illinois health officials announced 2,508 new coronavirus cases and 67 additional deaths. That brings Illinois’ total COVID-19 case count to 110,304, including 4,856 deaths.

Within the past 24 hours, Illinois has conducted 25,674 coronavirus tests for a total of 747,921. On Sunday, the statewide 7-day rolling positive rate for May 15 through May 21 was 12%.

The state broke down guidelines tailored to specific industries, such as restaurants, retail and health and fitness centers.

In addition to industry-specific guidelines, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Department of Public Health developed a common set of standards all businesses must follow. Those standards include the required use of face coverings, social distancing and informational signage on site, among other preventative measures.

The industry-specific guidelines can be found online on the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.

On Friday, restaurants can open their patios and rooftops. Restaurants can open their patios, rooftops and indoor spaces where at least 50 percent of the wall can be removed, including by opening windows and doors.

Restaurants can host parties of no more than six people.

“We’re expecting to have a really big rush as far as people wanting to eat outside and be with their friends again,” said Nate Cooper, general manager of Fire & Wine restaurant.

All regions in the state are able to move to Phase 3 Friday. But local officials have the final say on moving forward.

Business owners have been reading up on the guidelines to make sure they’re prepared for Friday.

“All restaurant owners, operators are ready to go into America 2.0. We just want to be open, make sure the public safety of our customers and our team members are always being taken care of, and we’re just looking forward to giving our customers the great experience they expect here in Chicago, the culinary capital in the United States,” said Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association.

As of right now, the City of Chicago will not enter the next phase of reopening with the rest of the state. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said last week that could happen in early June.

She also says she does expect the lakefront to reopen this summer, but it will come with strict safety precautions.

Gov. Pritzker has recognized the challenges of the transition. He said the state is offering support for businesses implementing the safety guidelines.

“Moving to the next phase of Restore Illinois is a big shift for businesses,” the governor said. “While many are eager to move forward, nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to move backward.”

To observe the Memorial Day holiday, all 10 state-run drive-thru testing sites will be closed Monday.

READ: GOV. PRITZKER’S UPDATES TO PHASE 3 OF ‘RESTORE ILLINOIS’ PLAN

Bars and Restaurants Can Open for Outdoor Seating, All State Parks to Open

Building on a robust, statewide effort to ensure Illinois can safely reopen and following the data, science, and guidance from public health experts and stakeholders across the state, Governor Pritzker announced updates to Phase 3 of the state’s Restore Illinois plan.
“We are by no means out of the woods, but directionally, things are getting better. And because of these advances, we are able to make some modifications to allow more activity during Phase 3 of our reopening plan Restore Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our mission has always been to get people back to work, get students back to school and return to as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing the health and safety of Illinoisans.”

In the coming days, the state and IDPH will be issuing formal industry-specific guidance, particularly around workplaces and childcare, for business owners and employees in these and other sectors.

Bars and Restaurants

With Phase 3, bars and restaurants will have the option to resume operations for outdoor seating only. Tables must be six feet apart and away from the sidewalks, masks and distancing measures for staff must continue to be followed, and other precautions and guidance will be issued.

These measures will allow restaurants to re-open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities, while giving the state’s hospitality industry a much-needed boost.
Municipalities are encouraged to help restaurants and bars expand their outdoor seating options.

To date, the administration has delivered over $14 million in small business grants averaging $20,000 to 699 bars, restaurants, and hotels across 270 individual cities in Illinois.

Outdoor Activities

With the start of phase 3, all state parks will reopen on May 29. All concession will reopen as well under guidelines set for our retail and food service businesses in Phase 3. Illinois will permit the re-opening of indoor and outdoor tennis facilities with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) safety precautions and capacity limits.

For golf, in Phase 3, courses can allow foursomes out on the same tee times. Carts will also be permitted with one person per cart, or one immediate household per cart.

With the new ten person gathering limit for all activities in Phase 3, boating or camping with up to ten people will be permitted.

The state will be providing guidance on how other outdoor recreational businesses, such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, and paintball courses can safely open their doors in Phase 3.

Health Clubs, Retail, and Personal Care Services

In Phase 3, health clubs, gyms, and fitness studios can provide one-on-one personal training in indoor facilities and outdoor fitness classes of up to ten people.

Personal care services, like nail salons, tattoo shops, hair braiders, spas and barbershops, can open with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits.

And all retail stores can open their doors to in-person shopping with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits in place.

Local governments retain the right to establish stricter restrictions in any areas.

“The Governor’s action to allow for expanded outdoor dining options will benefit many restaurants at a time when every dollar counts and provides a glimmer of light at the end of this long, COVID-19 tunnel. Innovative outdoor dining strategies extend a lifeline – restoring jobs and offering guests the hospitality experience they’ve been missing while prioritizing public health and safety. Outdoor dining will not help every restaurant, but it is a constructive step in the right direction,” said Sam Toia, President & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association.

“The Allied Golf Associations of Illinois are grateful that we had the opportunity to collaborate with the Governor’s office to propose safely lifting some of the restrictions that had been in place for golf. The Phase 3 changes will allow more people to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of the game, and do so in a way that is safe for both golfers and facility staff,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA and Illinois PGA Foundation.

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