CHICAGO (WREX) — We’re one week away from the state being fully reopened and the governor’s office is now providing a little more information as to what things will look like.
On Friday, Governor JB Pritzker released guidelines for Phase 5, or when the state is “fully restored.”
This guidance will mean businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and seated-spectator venues, among others, will be able to operate at full capacity for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State is also lifting the outdoor mask requirement in schools in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Upon entering Phase 5, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. The State will continue to recommend masking for unvaccinated persons, and require it for all people while traveling on public transportation, in congregate settings, in health care settings, as well as in schools, day cares, and educational institutions pursuant to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and CDC guidance. Businesses and local municipalities can put in place additional mitigations as they deem appropriate.
Under Phase 5, all sectors of the economy can resume at regular capacity. Phase 5 also marks the return of traditional conventions, festivals, and large events without capacity restrictions. Large gatherings of all sizes can resume across all industry settings, and Phase 5 removes requirements that businesses institute mandatory social distancing in seated venues as well as daily health screenings of employees and visitors. Businesses and venues should continue to allow for social distancing to the extent possible, especially indoors. Businesses and venues may also continue to put in place additional public health mitigations as they deem appropriate, including requiring face coverings.
While the entry to Phase 5 signals an end to business and activity specific guidance requiring social distancing, health screening and other required operational shifts, Illinois will continue to recommend face coverings for unvaccinated persons, as well as all individuals while (1) on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation and in transportation hubs, such as airports and train and bus stations; (2) in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities, veterans’ homes, and long-term care facilities, group homes, and residential facilities; and (3) in healthcare settings.
In addition, the guidance for schools is updated to align with the CDC guidelines, including lifting the requirement for individuals to mask outdoors in most situations.
“After a tremendously challenging year, Illinois has now reached a defining moment in our efforts to defeat COVID-19,” said Gov. Pritzker. “Thanks to the hard work of residents across the state, Illinois will soon resume life as we knew it before – returning to events, gatherings, and a fully reopened economy, with some of the safety guidelines we’ve adopted still in place. As we fully reopen, this administration remains laser focused on ensuring a strong recovery for our small businesses and communities. Our FY22 budget invests $1.5 billion in small business relief, tourism, job-creating capital projects and more and we look forward to getting these dollars to communities across our state as quickly as possible.”
This guidance comes as Illinois has recently reached a test positivity rate of less than 2 percent, more than half of the population has been fully vaccinated, and key hospitalization metrics have been declining since early May.