The 5 Stage Illinois Reopening Plan

If you are one of those who is seeking to get concrete answers as to when life can get back to normal in Illinois — then Tueday gave you some visibility, as Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled a five-stage plan for opening everything from salons to restaurants in the state.  He said, “‘Restore Illinois’ is a public health plan to safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold in our fight against COVID-19. This is also a data-driven plan that operates on a region-by-region basis, a recognition that reality on the ground looks different in different areas of our state.”  Here is more on what he communicated:

Phase 1 – We already are past stage one, when the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. During this phase, strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.

Phase 2 – The “flattening” phase is where we’re currently at in Illinois. In this phase, the rate of infection among those tested, and the number of patients admitted to hospital and ICU beds increases at a slower rate, moving toward a flat and, eventually, a downward trajectory. The updates to the stay at home order — which allowed curbside pickup and delivery at retail stores, and reopening of golf courses and state parks — were tied to this phase, which remains in effect statewide until May 29, Pritzker said.

Current Situation:  The timeline, however, depends on the spread of coronavirus, which has still not reached its peak. Illinois is currently in its second phase of reopening, and the state could enter the third phase in the coming weeks, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said, “We have to figure out how to live with COVID-19 until it can be vanquished – and to do so in a way that best supports our residents’ health and our healthcare systems, and saves the most lives.”   Pritzker says the plan will operate on a “region-by-region basis” and can be updated as the situation across the state develops.

 

The plan divides the state into four regions: Northeast Illinois, North-Central Illinois, Central Illinois and Southern Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health will monitor each region and move that region to the next phase when it meets defined public health goals.

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Here’s a look at the five phases Pritzker outlined to reopen:

Phase 1 – Rapid Spread:
What it means: This phase takes place when the rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing.

When it begins: Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.

What is allowed: Only essential businesses remain open.

Restrictions: Strict stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines are put in place.

Phase 2 – Flattening the Curve:
What it means: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory.

When it begins: This phase began in Illinois on May 1, when a modified stay-at-home order took effect. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.

What is allowed: Non-essential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Residents can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing.

Restrictions: Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home.

Phase 3 – Recovery:
What it means: The rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining.

When it begins: Healthcare regions that meet certain thresholds over the next few weeks will be able to move to Phase 3. The earliest a region can move to Phase 3 is May 29.

What is allowed: Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. All gatherings limited to 10 or fewer people are allowed.

Restrictions: Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 4 – Revitalization:
What it means: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline.  Schools could reopen if a region is in Stage 4 by this fall, but they’ll have “strict” guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

When it begins: In order to begin phase four, a region would need to see continued declines in its positivity rate and hospitalizations and maintain surge capacity.

What is allowed: All gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the IDPH.

Restrictions: Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 5 – Illinois Restored:
What it means: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing.  Life won’t return to “normal” until Phase 5, when there’s a vaccine or widespread, effective treatment for COVID-19, Pritzker said. Experts have said either of those things is likely months away. Until then, large gatherings are canceled and most people are required to wear face coverings when unable to social distance, Pritzker said.  “It brings me no joy to say this, but based on what the experts tell us and everything we know about this virus and how easily it spreads in a crowd, large conventions, festivals and other major events” are canceled until Phase 5, Pritzker said. But there will be progress and, with that, the lifting of restrictions in the months ahead

When it begins: The only way Phase 5 will begin is with a vaccine, or a widely available and highly effective treatment, or with the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period.

What’s allowed: Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open.

Restrictions: New safety guidance and procedures will be in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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