CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said bars and restaurants who offer outdoor seating can reopen on May 29th.
“Summer offers us an opportunity, if owners take precautions,” Pritzker said.
Bars and restaurants were previously not expected to reopen until Phase 4 of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan.
Pritzker said to comply with Phase 3 of his executive order, 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.
In Phase 3, which all four regions are expected to enter on May 29th, Pritzker says gatherings of 10 people or fewer will be permitted.
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.
All stores will be allowed to reopen for in-person shopping as long as they provide social distancing safety measures.
Nail salons, spas, tattoo shops, and barber shops will be able to open with capacity limits outlined by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The governor said that making reservations, and closing streets to provide more room to accommodate seating, may become the new normal.
“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 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.
Local governments will still be given authority to enforce stricter guidelines, Pritzker said.
Pritzker warned that the virus is still out there, and states who have reopened without restrictions are seeing increased hospitalizations.
The IDPH announced an additional 2,388 cases on Wednesday. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 100,418 cases, including 4,525 deaths, in 100 counties in Illinois.
“We’ve come too far to give up now,” he said.
Pritzker will withdraw his emergency rule which would penalize businesses for reopening early, in violation of his stay-at-home order.
The rule, which the governor introduced on Friday, would allow fines of up to $2,500 for businesses caught in violation of the executive order.
The Illinois State Police issued a statement Wednesday saying it would not arrest anyone for violating the rule, but encouraged businesses to follow it.
The administration said it would withdraw the rule to avoid a clash between legislative and executive branches, according to sources within the Joint Action Committee, who met today to challenge the rule.
The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed that the rule would be repealed, but lawmakers say Pritzker can still make his case to the legislature.
Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) said in a statement, “I am pleased that the Governor has decided to withdraw his emergency rules which would have negatively impacted our business community and punished hardworking Illinoisans. The idea of criminally charging small business owners for trying to stay open to support their families was something the Senate Republicans strongly opposed. This was a big win on our first day back in Springfield. I am glad that, with the help of a large public outcry, we were able to defeat this rule change.”
Pritzker also announced that Illinois’ 1.8 million SNAP benefit recipients will now be able to buy groceries online..
The new purchasing option will begin on June 2nd. All Link customers will be alerted when they can make use of their card to make food orders online.
“To keep more families safe and healthy, my administration is expanding the ways in which SNAP recipients can acquire groceries to include online purchasing,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The best part is that in addition to helping families shop a little easier and safer during this pandemic, this is a permanent new feature of the SNAP landscape in Illinois that will support our residents for many years to come.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved IDHS’ SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Online implementation plan, which gives SNAP customers the ability to enter their Personal Identification Number (PIN) to order groceries online. All SNAP recipients with Link cards in Illinois will be able to participate.
Walmart and Amazon have agreed to accept online orders in Illinois once the program site launches.
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