Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask, except where required. Local businesses and workplaces might continue requiring employees and visitors to require masks. The state will also still require masking “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,” Pritzker’s office said in a press release. The state also recommends unvaccinated people continue to wear masks.
“After a tremendously challenging year, Illinois has now reached a defining moment in our efforts to defeat COVID-19,” Pritzker said in the release. “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.”
The state could advance to this phase only because of those vaccination rates and stable or declining hospital admission rates, as well as the availability of ICU beds. The state logged just 626 new COVID cases today. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate from the past week—cases as a percent of COVID total tests—is 1.3 percent, the lowest since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations have dropped consistently since early May. As of yesterday, there were 901 hospitalized COVID patients statewide, down from 1,947 on May 7.
Phase 5 also removes requirements that businesses institute mandatory social distancing in seated venues and daily health screenings for employees and visitors. “Businesses and venues should continue to allow for social distancing to the extent possible, especially indoors,” the release said. “Businesses and venues may also continue to put in place additional public health mitigations as they deem appropriate, including requiring face coverings.”
Pritzker said the administration is “laser-focused on ensuring a strong recovery for our small businesses and communities,” touting $1.5 billion in his latest budget “to support business grants, tourism recovery, workforce recovery, affordable housing, violence prevention, capital projects and other investments throughout Illinois communities.”