SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — The Pritzker administration rolled out revised guidelines Monday morning that relax coronavirus-related restrictions on several industries and are set to take effect on Friday.
‘Phase 4’ of the Governor J.B. Pritzker’s plan to ‘Restore Illinois’ promises to put 400,000 people back to work after the pandemic sent more than a million people to the state’s unemployment line.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a press release, “Our strategy to encourage social distancing and expand testing and contact tracing will enable Illinois communities to continue to take steps to reopen, to return to work and to resume daily activities.”
Starting Friday, restaurants can seat groups of up to 10 indoors, so long as tables are spaced at least six-feet apart and the restaurant limits the standing areas to 25 percent capacity.
College and professional sports can resume outdoors with up to a 20 percent seating capacity in bleachers or stadiums. Concessions would be allowed to resume under social distancing and safety guidelines.
Youth sports can continue with a capacity limit of 50 percent in place at each facility, with seating capped at 20 percent for spectators. Organizers must designate spaces for members of individual households to avoid mingling. The total group, including players, coaches and spectators, cannot exceed 50 people.
Conference halls and wedding venues can open floor space to accommodate up to a limit of 50 people. Venues that can hold more than a 100 people must limit events to a capacity of 50 people.
Gyms, fitness centers can open with up to 50 percent capacity limits, but staff are instructed to clean and sanitize equipment between each use, reconfigure floor plans to keep people six feet apart during workouts. Saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms will remain closed.
Driving ranges, bingo halls, escape rooms, bowling alleys, skating rinks and other indoor recreation facilities can begin to open for up to 50 percent capacity. Water parks and recreational swimming will also be allowed to reopen under strict guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Indoor playgrounds, trampoline parks and amusement parks must remain closed until further notice.
Zoos, theaters and museums can also open for limited indoor capacity. A full list of industries, regulations and best practices for workplaces can be viewed here.
The Governor’s Office has not yet released any Executive Orders that may accompany the updated Phase 4 guidance. Pritzker has suggested that some capacity limits or specifics could be subject to change even after the new ‘revitalization’ phase begins on Friday, depending on the science and data surrounding COVID-19.
Pritzker has said he will not lift the Phase 4 restrictions until we develop a vaccine or a treatment for the coronavirus, or until we achieve herd immunity through some other means.
Illinois daily numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and positive infections rates have plummeted in recent weeks, earning some of the nation’s top marks in rapidly reducing the spread of the virus.
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