New Illinois coronavirus restrictions for Region 1 begin Saturday

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritkzer and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that Region 1 will be placed under new restrictions to stop the increased spread of the COVID-19 virus, effective Saturday, October 3rd.

Region 1 consists of Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, DeKalb, Lee, Jo Daviess, Carroll and Whiteside counties.

The region is seeing a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8% or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the threshold set for establishing mitigation measures in the region under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.

“The concerning uptick in Region 1’s positivity – jumping more than two percentage points in two weeks even as the majority of Illinois continues to see downward trends – demands increased efforts to stop the spread in our northwestern counties,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

“As other regions have demonstrated, stricter mitigations will lead to safer communities when people mask up, keep their distance, wash their hands and respect public health. It is my hope that the residents of Region 1 can turn this situation around quickly, and Dr. Ezike and I continue to coordinate with local officials to make that happen,” he continued.

According to guidance, all indoor bar and restaurant service must cease, and establishments can offer outdoor service only, and only until 11 p.m. Reservations will be required for seating.

Social events are limited to 25 people or 25% of overall room capacity.

Party bus operations must cease, and gaming establishments must close at 11 p.m., and are limited to 25% capacity.

Bars
• No indoor service
• All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m.
• All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
• No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
• Tables should be 6 feet apart
• No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
• No dancing or standing indoors
• Reservations required for each party
• No seating of multiple parties at one table

Restaurants
• No indoor dining or bar service
• All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m.
• Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
• No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
• Reservations required for each party
• No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings
• Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity
• No party buses
• Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

These mitigations do not currently apply to schools.

The IDPH says it will track the testing positivity rate for a 14-day period to determine if mitigations can be relaxed. If the rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% for 3 days, the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations.

Region 4, the Metro East, remains under additional mitigation measures as well.

However, if the positivity rate is greater than or equal to 8% for 14 days, IDPH says stricter mitigations will be applied.

Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) responded by saying, “With the region reporting zero deaths in last ten days and with our hospital ICU vacancy rates at over 50 percent, any talk of business closure is unwarranted and wrong. By shutting down our businesses and limiting their ability to operate, Governor Pritzker is doing lasting damage to our economy. Our business community is just beginning to pick up the pieces left behind from the original statewide shutdown Governor Pritzker enforced just months ago. We cannot afford to once again allow for our businesses to be negatively impacted and our workforce to take another hit just because the Governor has decided to enforce these arbitrary rules based on methodology that lacks much transparency.”

State Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) issued a statement Tuesday afternoon in response, saying, “It’s unfortunate that the Pritzker Administration and the state health department are selectively shutting down several types of businesses without any evidence that they’re responsible for the spread of COVID-19. More troubling is how the administration is ignoring and/or constantly changing their mitigation measures. The department had a tiered system that reduced capacity in the first tier, but now there are apparently no tiers and the administration just suspends indoor dining and closes bars. Stateline area families, employers and workers deserve better than the administration’s haphazard approach to mitigation that arbitrarily picks winners and losers with people’s livelihoods.”

State Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore), said the following: “These mitigations are both a setback and a wake-up call that we’re all in this together when it comes to keeping each other healthy and keeping our economy open. DeKalb County has a lower positivity rate, below the warning level, than several other counties in our region. While that is a good thing, it is frustrating that our local communities’ best efforts are not enough to avoid mitigation. Higher rates among our neighbors, particularly in Winnebago, Boone and Lee Counties are pulling us down. We should have greater independence at the county level to respond with mitigation efforts locally to trends like this.”

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