On Tuesday, May 5th, Governor Pritzker released Restore Illinois, a five-phased plan that will reopen our state, guided by health metrics and with distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase. The plan is based upon regional healthcare availability, and it recognizes the distinct impact COVID-19 has had on different regions of our state as well as regional variations in hospital capacity. For more information on Restore Illinois, see below.
About the Plan
Q: Does the plan mean the stay at home order is over?
A: No, the stay at home order is still in effect until May 29th, 2020.
Q: Who put the plan together?
Governor Pritzker worked closely with medical and public health experts at 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.
Q: 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.
- 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, and 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 up to 10 people allowed.
- Phase 4 (Revitalization): Gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen under safety guidance from IDPH, and childcare and schools reopen under guidance from IDPH.
- Phase 5 (Illinois Restored): The Illinois economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing.
Q: 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%?
A: To advance through the phases, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will be monitoring 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% positivity rate is an average over the last 14 days. The region will be required to have a positivity rate of 20% or less and an increase of no more than 10% over a 14-day period, among other factors, to advance to the next phase. A positivity rate climb to more than 20% 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.
Q: How will I know what phase of the plan my region is in?
A: As of May 1, 2020, each region in Illinois is in Phase 2. Please check the IDPH website for information on what stage each region is in: Regional Details.
Q: Can regions backslide to a previous phase?
A: Yes. IDPH will be closely monitoring data and will work with local health departments and regional healthcare 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-19 like illness
- Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities
- Significant outbreak in the region that threatens the health of the region
Q: Could regions open up before the end of May?
Restore Illinois requires a region to experience a downward trend in test positivity rates for 14 days, a downward trend in hospitalizations for COVID-like illness for 28 days, and a specific hospital surge capacity. If a region is able to meet those metrics outlined by public health experts, they can move to the next phase.
Businesses and Schools
Q: When can I reopen my business?
A: As of May 1st, non-essential retail stores can open for curbside pick-up and delivery. In Phase 3, non-essential manufacturing businesses can open, health and fitness clubs can provide outdoor classes and one-one-one training and retail stores can open their doors to the public while maintaining capacity limits. More information on businesses can be found in the plan here: Restore Illinois Plan.
Q: If my region is already in Phase 4, can my kid go back to school this month?
A: As all regions are currently in Phase 2, schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. Summer school sessions will also operate remotely.
Q: When will child care reopen?
A: Child care centers are currently able to open under an emergency child care license that requires smaller groups and strict social distancing, and child care homes can operate serving six or fewer children. We are working with stakeholders and public health officials to develop guidance for how child care will need to operate in Phases 3 and 4 to ensure safety for staff, children and their families.
Q: 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?
A: Gyms cannot be open at this time. Currently all regions are in Phase 2, once a region enters Phase 3, outdoor fitness classes are permitted as long as people are practicing social distancing and the activity is limited to less than 10 individuals.
Q: How did the administration come up with the four regions?
A: The Illinois Department of Public Health 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.
Q: Can a specific county or school district within a larger region reopen at a faster rate than the rest of the region?
A: No. While specific regions can advance through the phases faster than others, specific regions must achieve the five phases as a whole, not on a county by county basis.
Q: Can people from regions who are farther along in the plan’s phases travel to a region that is one or more phases behind them?
A: Travel within the state of Illinois will not be restricted.