SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - All Illinois residents 16 and older, except those in Chicago, will be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine starting April 12, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
"COVID-19 has not gone away, but the light we can see at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter as more people get vaccinated," Pritzker said in a statement.
Pritzker also announced the state would eventually move to a "bridge phase" that includes increasing capacity limits at businesses while Illinois moves toward fully reopening.
All regions of the state will move through the "bridge phase" and ultimately to Phase 5, together. The state’s mask mandate will continue in accordance with current CDC guidance.
"It’s time to begin to cautiously move toward normalcy, and it’s imperative that we do so in a way that maintains all the progress we’ve made to date," Pritzker said.
Starting March 29, Chicago will begin vaccinating people in group 1C. This group includes people with certain health conditions who are 16 and older. Conditions include cancer, obesity, diabetes and Down syndrome.
Group 1C also includes more essential workers.
Because the city of Chicago receives its own pool of vaccine from the federal government, it sets its own rules.
Last week in his first prime-time address, President Joe Biden set May 1 as the target date to have all adults vaccine eligible, which puts Illinois ahead of schedule.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.