Pritzker Issues Guidelines Ahead of Full Reopening | Chicago News
In one week, the state of Illinois is set to fully reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes and vaccinations against the virus rise.
Ahead of the reopening, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday issued updated guidance for businesses and venues, which will be operating at full capacity for the first time since the pandemic took hold.
“After a tremendously challenging year, Illinois has now reached a defining moment in our efforts to defeat COVID-19,” Pritzker said in a statement. “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.”
Face coverings and social distancing will not be required for businesses and venues where everyone is fully vaccinated, but businesses and municipalities can still require face coverings and social distancing, according to the guidelines.
Unvaccinated people should continue to wear a face covering in crowded settings and maintain 6 feet of social distance in indoor businesses and venues, but they can go maskless while outdoors if they’re able to maintain social distancing, according to the guidelines.
Masks will be required on public transportation, in congregate settings and in health care settings, as well as in schools, day cares, and educational institutions, regardless of vaccination status.
While phase 5 removes requirements for social distancing, “businesses and venues should continue to allow for social distancing to the extent possible, especially indoors,” according to the governor’s office.
Phase 5 also eliminates requirements for daily health screenings of employees and visitors, but businesses and venues can continue to implement health mitigations they deem appropriate.
While the guidelines apply to all businesses, people in schools, day care settings and educational institutions should continue to follow separate guidance issued by the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Illinois Department of Public Health
Pritzker is also lifting the outdoor mask requirement in schools in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The guidance comes as Illinois reached a seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases of 1.3% and 67% of Illinois adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to IDPH.
“The vaccine is giving us our freedoms back and allowing us to move to Phase 5,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Let’s keep the vaccination momentum going so we can put this pandemic in the rearview mirror and not look back.”
More than 5.3 million of the state’s 12.7 million residents have been fully vaccinated, according to IDPH vaccine data.
On Friday, state health officials reported 626 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths. Since the pandemic began in Illinois, there have been 1,384,365 cases and 22,880 deaths.