Pritzker shuts bars, restaurants for 2 more Illinois counties as COVID-19 cases rise

Local News

CHICAGO (WTVO/WGN) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced additional restrictions for Will and Kankakee counties after the COVID-19 positivity rate in the region passed state limits for a third consecutive day Monday.

According to the Illinois Department of Health, the 7-day COVID-19 test positivity rate in the South Suburban Region which includes Kankakee and Will counties reached 8 percent on August 19. On Monday, officials reported it remained above that level for a third day in a row as of August 21, with a positivity rate of 8.3 percent.

The state’s “Restore Illinois” plan mandates any region with a positivity rate of 8 percent or more for three consecutive days be subject to additional mitigation measures meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In a press release sent out Monday evening, health officials said the new restrictions will be put in place in the South Suburban Region starting August 26, including:

  • All gatherings limited to 25 people or 25 percent of room capacity, whichever is less
  • No indoor service at bars or restaurants, and all outside service closes at 11 p.m.
  • Reservations required at bars and restaurants, and no congregating while waiting for a table, paying or exiting
  • No dancing or party buses
  • Gaming and casinos close at 11 p.m. and are limited to 25 percent capacity

Officials said schools will not be included under the new restrictions, which will remain in place for at least 14 days. If the positivity rate drops below 6.5 percent after 14 days, they could be lifted, but if the rate is above 8 percent at that time additional restrictions could be put in place.

“Illinois residents continue to take important steps to protect the safety of our loved ones and neighbors. However, due to a recent uptick in cases, we must take additional precautionary steps when we are out in public,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Based on conversations and input from industry and business leaders, the State of Illinois is implementing updated guidelines which will allow restaurants and bars across the state to stay open while helping protect the health and safety of patrons and staff.”

“Going out for food and drinks should not be a reason or an excuse to let our guards down in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of IDPH. “IDPH and DCEO are updating current guidance to make it clear that face coverings should be worn in any situation where we are interacting with those outside of our immediate circles. We will continue to adapt our guidelines and institute additional precautions to help protect all residents that make up our communities.”


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