Restoring Illinois – Protecting Our Communities FAQs

On May 5, Gov. JB Pritzker released Restore Illinois, a five-phased plan to reopen our state, guided by health metrics and with distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase. Beginning Friday, June 26, each region in the state entered Phase 4 of the plan. For more information about Restore Illinois and Phase 4, see below.

About the Plan

Who put the plan together?

Governor Pritzker worked closely with medical and public health experts at the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and received feedback from public health and hospital partners as well as local elected officials, mayors, and businesses who have been in regular communication with the administration.

What are the five phases?

Restore Illinois is a five-phased public health plan. The phases are:

Phase 1 Rapid Spread

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

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 & fishing while practicing social distancing.

Phase 3 Recovery

Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops, and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions.

Gatherings of 10 people or fewer are allowed.

Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 4 Revitalization

Gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, childcare and schools reopen under guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 5 Illinois Restored

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.

View the complete plan here.

Is the 20% positivity rate requirement to advance to the next phase an average or does it start over each time a region hits 20%?

To advance through the phases, IDPH will monitor the COVID-19 positivity rate, the percent of COVID-19 positive tests out of the total number of tests performed, in each region.  The 20 percent positivity rate is an average over the last 14 days.  The region will be required to have a positivity rate of 20 percent or less and an increase of no more than 10 percent over a 14-day period, among other factors, to advance to the next phase.  A positivity rate climb to more than 20 percent for a region does not indicate an automatic return to the previous phase, but it would be one of a set of multiple factors IDPH would look at to make the recommendation to return to a prior phase.

How will I know what phase of the plan my region is in?

As of June 26, 2020, each region in Illinois is in Phase 4. Check the IDPH website at  https://www.dph.illinois.gov/restore for information on what stage each region is in. Can regions backslide to a previous phase?

Yes. IDPH will closely monitor data and work with local health departments and regional health care councils to move a region back to a previous phase in these circumstances:

  • Sustained rise in positivity rate
  • Sustained increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19like illness
  • Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities
  • Significant outbreak in the region that threatens the region’s health

Recreation and Activities

Are movie theaters allowed to operate?

Yes. Cinemas, indoor seated theaters, and performing arts centers can reopen under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. Admission is limited to the lesser of up to 50 guests or 50 percent of overall theater or performance space capacity for each screening room/stage. Concessions are permitted with restrictions from IDPH.

What indoor recreations are allowed?

Indoor recreation facilities like bowling alleys and skating rinks can reopen under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. All indoor recreation facilities must operate at the lesser of 50 customers or 50 percent of facility capacity. Facilities can serve more than one group at a time if they have the space to appropriately social distance and minimize interaction between groups. Concessions can operate with restrictions from IDPH.

Museums can reopen under Phase 4 with a maximum 25 percent occupancy and with interactive exhibits and rides closed. Guided tours should be limited to 50 people or fewer per group.

What outdoor recreations are allowed?

Outdoor recreation activities, such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, and adventure courses can reopen, with individual stations spaced 10 feet apart. Groups are limited to 50 or fewer people while following social distancing guidelines. Clubhouses and communal gathering spots can reopen in Phase 4.

State parks and concessions are open, with concessions operating under the same guidelines as other restaurants and retailers. Golf courses can allow foursomes and the use of carts can resume with one person per cart unless they are members of the same household. Camping and boating are allowed in groups of 10 or fewer or members of the same household, with social distancing and other precautions, as established by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Can I attend a sports event?

Outdoor spectator sports can resume under Phase 4 with no more than 20 percent of seating capacity and with concessions operating under Indoor and Outdoor Dining criteria.

What outdoor activities can I do with my family?

Zoos can reopen during Phase 4 with no more than 25 percent occupancy with interactive exhibits, indoor exhibits, and rides remaining closed. Guided tours should be limited to 50 people or fewer per group. Other activities like hiking, boating, golfing, and visiting Illinois state parks also are permitted.

Outdoor playgrounds may open in Phase 4 if municipalities choose to open them. Playgrounds should adhere to the 50-person limit and other public health precautions.

Can youth sports games resume?

Yes. Phase 4 allows youth competitive games and tournaments. Sports venues can operate at 50 percent facility capacity, 20 percent seating capacity for spectators, and group sizes up to 50. Multiple groups up to 50 people can utilize the same venue or facility at the same time if permitted facilities have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups. Concessions are permitted in accordance with Indoor and Outdoor Dining criteria.

Businesses

Is there specific guidance for different types of businesses?

Yes.  You can find industry-specific guidance along with signage, training checklists, and other resources to help business owners and operators at www.Illinois.gov/businesstoolkit.   

Are meeting spaces open?

Venues and meeting spaces can resume with the lesser of up to 50 people or 50 percent of overall room capacity. Social distancing protocols should be adhered to.

Are non-essential stores allowed to open?

Retail stores and shopping malls were permitted to reopen under Phase 3. Customers and employees should wear face coverings (unless they have a medical exception) and retailers must limit the number of customers in a store to 50 percent capacity, or five customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space. Fitting rooms must be disinfected after each use or remain closed. Returned items must be disinfected or set in a separate area for 72 hours before going back on the rack.

Can I get a haircut?

Personal care services, such as hair salons, barbershops, hair braiders, spas, tattoo parlors, nail salons, waxing centers, and cosmetology schools can open. Customers and employees must wear facial coverings (unless they have a medical exception) and walk-ins will not be permitted, reservations only.

When will gyms be open?

Gyms can expand operations under Phase 4 to 50 percent capacity and indoor group fitness classes are allowed with up to 50 people in accordance with safety guidelines from IDPH and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

Can I go to a restaurant?

Under Phase 4, indoor dining at restaurants can reopen with groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced 6 feet apart in seated areas and with standing areas at no more than 25 percent of capacity. Outdoor dining and drinking reopened under Phase 3, including rooftop establishments, but retractable roofs must stay open. Businesses are advised to implement a reservation or call-ahead system and customers are asked to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth except for when they are eating and drinking at a table.

Are places such as yoga studios, CrossFit gyms, or Pilates allowed to hold classes? Can they open if limited to less than 10 persons and maintain distance? 

Gyms can expand operations under Phase 4 to 50 percent capacity and indoor group fitness classes are allowed with up to 50 people in accordance with safety guidelines from IDPH and DCEO.

Schools and Child Care

When will child care expand?

Child care centers have been allowed to reopen  since Phase 3. Staff must check everyone’s temperature at arrival and anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher will not be admitted. Staff should wear face coverings. Children over the age of 2 should wear face coverings when entering and exiting, in hallways, and whenever possible in the classroom.

Licensed and license-exempt home day cares were permitted to reopen under Phase 3. License-exempt homes are limited to three unrelated children and licensed homes are limited to either their licensed capacity or 10 children (12 children for group family day care homes), whichever is smaller. Home day cares should provide sleep space for each child with 6 feet of separation.

More detailed guidance for child care providers is available on the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development website at https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/OECD/Pages/COVID-19.aspx.

Will K-12 schools reopen for the upcoming school year?

Yes. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recently released guidelines that allow students to safely return to the classroom this fall. The guidelines were developed with input from IDPH and 56 educators, superintendents, social workers, nurses, and other stakeholders from across the state. View the complete guidelines here.

What about colleges and universities?

Community colleges and higher education institutions will reopen for the fall semester in accordance with guidelines developed with IDPH and stakeholders to keep students and staff safe. View the complete guidelines for community colleges from the Illinois Community College Board here. View the complete guidelines for higher education institutions from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) here.

Can I move back into my dorm?

Colleges and universities expect dormitories, cafeterias, libraries, bookstores, and other amenities of campus life to be available to students this fall, subject to their own and IBHE guidelines. Students should confirm any restrictions and requirements with the institution where they are enrolled.

Will I be able to enroll in community college?

The Illinois Community College Board released guidelines that allow for community colleges throughout the state to reopen for the upcoming academic year. Those guidelines can be found here. For specific questions about enrollment policies and procedures, contact the community college you are interested in attending.  

What if my family cannot afford to send me back to school?

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is available to help students and families  experiencing financial challenges to determine their options. For information  on returning to campus and financial aid during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://www.isac.org/covid-19/.

State Regions

How did the administration come up with the four regions?

IDPH has 11 Emergency Medical Services Regions that have traditionally guided its statewide public health work. For the purposes of the Restore Illinois plan, from those 11, four health regions were established: Northeast Illinois, North-Central Illinois, Central Illinois, and Southern Illinois.

Can a specific county or school district within a larger region reopen at a faster rate than the rest of the region?

No. While regions can advance through the phases faster than others, specific regions must achieve the five phases, not on a county-by-county basis.

Can people from regions farther along in the plan’s phases travel to a region that is one or more phases behind them?

Travel within the state is not restricted.