Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order has officially come to an end after more than two months as much of Illinois moves into the next phase of a statewide reopening plan.
Several businesses across Illinois began to reopen Friday, the first day under phase three of Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan.
“As we end that phase it’s important to take note that the people of Illinois have taken this seriously and that has made all the difference,” he said during his daily briefing. “I am very happy that people have been so good to each other in the state with this enormous challenge, we’re all doing exactly what I hoped we would do.”
The announcement came on a day when Illinois health officials announced 1,622 new COVID-19 cases and 86 additional deaths, bringing statewide totals to 117,455 cases and 5,270 deaths.
The statewide stay-at-home order had been in place since March 21. Pritzker said he's replacing it with a new executive order, called the “community recovery order,” which he said reflects the “new, more open reality” Illinoisans now face.
That new order still limits gatherings to 10 or fewer people, while also requiring social distancing and face coverings in public.
“We have to be careful,” he said. “Things as they open up also means that opportunities to catch COVID-19 open up.”
While all four regions of Illinois got a green light to move into phase three on Friday, Chicago officials have decided to delay its transition until next Wednesday.
Restaurants and coffee shops can reopen to outdoor dining service, while stores, barbershops and salons, child care centers and golf courses will be allowed to operate with strict limits on the number of people allowed indoors.
As phase two of the reopening plan came to a close, Pritzker said Illinois is now averaging nearly 250 fewer COVID-19 cases each day than it was four weeks ago – a 20% decrease – as well as 40 fewer deaths per day compared to just two weeks ago – a 32% decline.
The governor on Friday also announced that beginning next week, he will no longer hold daily public briefings about the coronavirus. Those press conferences will still occasionally be held, he said, but only on an “as needed” basis.
Pritzker began his COVID-19 briefings more than 80 days ago and they continued on a daily basis until recently, when he stopped holding weekend briefings. Pritzker said the Illinois Department of Public Health will continue providing daily updates on the state’s COVID-19 cases and fatalities, as well as regional progress on metrics under the Restore Illinois plan.
“The journey to this point has seemed very long, and unfortunately, the journey is far from over,” he said. “Let’s be clear on this: the virus is still out there and it is still very dangerous.”
Coronavirus Prevention Tips and Resources
Officials advise taking preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, including:
—Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
—Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
—Sneezing or coughing into a tissue and then disposing of the tissue
—Limiting contact with people regardless of how you feel
—Staying home when you are sick
Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
—New onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath
—Congestion in the nasal sinuses or lungs
—Sore throat, body aches or unusual fatigue
If you think you have COVID-19:
Call your doctor before showing up at their office. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the operator that you think you have COVID-19. If possible, wear a mask before medical help arrives or presenting at a doctor’s office. More advice for those who think they have COVID-19.
—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
—Illinois’ COVID-19 website
—Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website
—IDPH COVID-19 hotline: 800-889-3931
—IDPH COVID-19 email link
—City of Chicago COVID-19 website
—City of Chicago COVID-19 hotline: 312-746-4835
—City of Chicago COVID-19 email link