The state’s COVID-19 metrics continue to improve ahead of Friday’s planned statewide reopening.
Gov. JB Pritzker’s office confirmed last week that Phase 5 will begin Friday, essentially lifting all of the COVID-19 capacity restrictions that have been in place for over one year. That means businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks and seated-spectator venues can all return to full capacity beginning Friday.
That announcement came as the state’s COVID-19 case positivity rate–a disease spread indicator that has been widely used to determine what level of restrictions would be in place throughout the pandemic–continued to plummet, hitting a new low of 1.1 percent Monday. That’s far from the recent 4.4 percent peak from April 12 and well below its 13.2 percent height since June 2020, when testing became more widespread.
While businesses will still be allowed to have stricter masking and social distancing policies than the state, the new guidance follows the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that face coverings are not needed indoors for vaccinated individuals.
Masks are still “recommended” for unvaccinated individuals, according to the governor’s office. Masks will still be required for people traveling on public transportation, in congregate settings, in health care settings, as well as in schools, day cares and educational institutions, according to the governor’s office.
“This pandemic has robbed us of many of our freedoms such as going to ball games and concerts, celebrating graduations, weddings, and birthdays, going to dinner with friends, and even sharing a hug with loved ones we don’t live with,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a news release. “The vaccine is giving us our freedoms back and allowing us to move to Phase 5. Let’s keep the vaccination momentum going so we can put this pandemic in the rearview mirror and not look back.”
According to IDPH, more than 11.6 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state, with 50.3 percent of the state’s aged-12-and-older population having been fully vaccinated. About 60 percent of those 12 and older have received at least one dose, while that number increases to 62.5 percent for those 18 and older and 82 percent for those 65 and over.
IDPH reported that 35.09 percent of Montgomery County residents are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, June 9. The Montgomery County Health Department continues to offer all three vaccinations at their main office on Route 185 in Taylor Springs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday, and has planned a second drive-through clinic from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 10, at Donnellson Village Hall.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.