'Restore Illinois': Pritzker reveals 5-phase plan to reopen state amid COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. J.B. Pritkzer announced a framework for reopening the state on Tuesday as politicians, businesses and citizens continue to press for an end to the stay-at-home order in Illinois.

Pritzker says the five-phased plan, named Restore Illinois, is guided by public health metrics designed for reopening businesses, schools, and recreational activities in each phase.

"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 said in a statement.

The governor says his plan will be driven by current virus data in different areas of the state and will be implemented on a "region-by-region basis."

"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," Pritzker said. "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.”

Under the plan, four different health regions have been established based on healthcare availability, and each region has the ability to move through the phased-approach independently.

Pritzker said the state is currently operating at Phase 2, a modified stay-at-home order, which began on May 1 allowing some businesses and other services to reopen. The order is expected to expire on May 30.

Pritzker says the initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized.

Until an effective, widely available vaccine is available, Pritzker says Illinois will not move to the final phase.

"The only way that we can cross into Phase 5, Illinois Restored, with all the sectors of the economy running with completely normal operations, is with a vaccine, or a widely available and highly effective treatment or with the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period of time," Pritzker said.

The five phases of reopening for each health region are as follows:

Phase 1 – Rapid Spread: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. 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 – Flattening: 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. Non-essential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home, and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.

Phase 3 – Recovery: 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. 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. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 4 – Revitalization: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. 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. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 5 – Illinois Restored: 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. Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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