Gov. Pritzker Announces Plan to Reopen State

May 5, 2020

Today at his daily press briefing, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Restore Illinois—A Public Health Approach to Safely Reopen Our State. The plan is a five-phased data-driven approach based on COVID-19 health outcomes, dividing the state into four major regions based on Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) EMS regions:  Northeast (EMS regions 7 through 11); North Central (1, 2); Central (3, 6); and Southern (4, 5).  

The phases are:

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: (Currently in this phase.) 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 currently in this phase, 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.

According to Gov. Pritzker, the earliest a region can move to phase three is May 29. A region must be at or under a 20% test positivity rate and increasing by no more than 10 percentage points over a 14-day period. In addition, a region must maintain the availability of a surge threshold of 14% availability of ICU beds, medical and surgical beds and ventilators. Also, a region must have either maintained an overall stability in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness or not have any overall increase in COVID-19-like illness for 28 days.

The Governor noted that this is a flexible plan. If there is a surge in COVID-19 cases and bed capacity becomes compromised, an IDPH region can move back a phase with stronger restrictions.