ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said he expects restaurants, child care facilities and churches to reopen June 1st in Winnebago County.

McNamara said this week, the Rockford Region Rebounding Working Groups will develop recommendations around reopening these three categories and will submit them to the Winnebago County Health Department. The final recommendations will be presented to the public on Tuesday, May 26.

The working groups are comprised of more than 140 individuals working to map out a strategy to reopen the local economy.

“All of the work we’ve been doing is not for naught,” McNamara said, reiterating his call for people to continue to observe social distancing measures.

Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney said offices, barber shops and salons may be able to open May 29th if all goes well.

Haney did voice concern after Wisconsin’s safer-at-home order was struck down and said he was particularly discouraged to see bars packed afterwards.

“If you look at the data, there are more folks in their 20’s (and 30’s) that are COVID positive than those in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s combined.”

The Winnebago County Health Department announced an additional 57 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, for a total of 1,558 reported so far.

WCHD Director Dr. Sandra Martell said 16,000 tests have been administered to residents so far. Martell said the percentage of new infections is below the baseline 20% rate, which will allow the region to move into Phase 3 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan.

All essential workers, first responders, and people with underlying conditions are encouraged to get tested, Martell said.

“We are going to have to coexist with COVID,” Martell said. “We will not get to zero infection rate, even when a vaccine is available.”

Martell noted that Winnebago County, as well as the state of Illinois itself, received an ‘F’ score on the updated social distancing scoreboard by Unacast.

“We don’t want to jeopardize our entry into next phase,” Martell said. “It’s our responsibility. I’ve heard a lot over the weekend about law enforcement… At the end of the day, we have to decide if we’re able to move into next phase.”

“We’re relying on everyone to do the right thing, even when people aren’t looking,” Martell said.

Residents of Fairhaven Retirement Center and the Luther Center are now reporting cases of coronavirus.

Alden Alma Nelson Manor, Amberwood Care Centre, Anam Care, The Atrium, Crimson Pointe, Forest City Rehab and Nursing, Goldie B Floberg Center, Lincolnshire Place, Milestone, River Bluff Nursing Home, Robert Webb Terrace, Rock River Health Care, Rockford Rescue Mission, Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus, St. Anne Ascension Living, Stepping Stones of Rockford, Van Matre and the Winnebgo County Jail have all reported cases.


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