Illinois moves to stricter COVID-19 mitigation plan

On Friday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois would be moving into Tier 3 Mitigation phase. Tier 3 comes with tighter restrictions on restaurants and businesses, as well as limits on social gatherings.

One major change is that bars and restaurants may no longer offer indoor service. This will be a challenge as the weather gets colder. There are also restrictions to ensure social distancing in an outdoor dining environment. There will be a maximum of six people per table, and multiple parties may also not be seated at the same table. There is also no dancing or standing permitted indoors.

Restaurants have already been struggling with business due to limitations on indoor seating to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some restaurants and businesses in the state are refusing to comply with the new orders.

Meetings and social gatherings, including weddings and funerals, are being advised to limit to 10 people. In home gatherings should be limited to only household members.

General retailers, including big box stores that sell groceries, may operate at no more than 25% capacity. Grocery stores and pharmacies have a 50% capacity limit. As before, delivery and curbside pickup options are being encouraged wherever possible.

Outlets for social events, such as meeting rooms, banquet centers, private party rooms and clubs are no longer allowed to host gatherings. Party buses are also prohibited.

Employees should work remotely whenever possible.

Indoor recreation has also taken a hit. Gaming and casinos must close, along with other indoor recreation centers such as theaters and performing arts centers. Health and fitness centers may operate ate no more than 25% capacity, and indoor group classes are no longer allowed. Personal care service providers also have limits on number and percentage of clients seen.

Hotels and manufacturing also face new restrictions.

Outdoor sports and recreation are still allowed, but indoor group sports and recreational activities for youth and adults must be put on pause.

There are several requirements for the state to leave Tier 3 mitigation. The Illinois Department of Public Health will monitor positivity rates and metrics for hospital capacity over a 14-day period to determine the next steps. A region’s test positivity rate must be less than 12% for three consecutive days, there must be more than 20% available ICU and hospital bed availability, and COVID hospitalizations must be declining for seven out of the last 10 days.