Restrictions designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the Metro East area of Illinois near St. Louis will be lifted at 5 p.m. Friday after the number of confirmed cases has dropped significantly, state officials announced.
These restrictions have been in place since Aug. 18, when Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered bars and restaurants to close at 11 p.m., in consultation with Missouri officials who planned similar steps to stop the cross-border spike.
However, Pritzker later said it was a “mistake” to not immediately implement the plan laid out by the Illinois Department of Public Health to stop surges, which called for a ban on indoor dining and bar service as well as a cap on indoor gatherings at 25 people or 25% of overall room capacity.
Those additional restrictions were put in place Sept. 2.
The average test positivity rate in the region has fallen from a high of 10.5% on Aug. 27 to 5.8% Friday, state officials said.
“It takes communities working together to reduce the spread of the virus and lower the positivity rate,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
The state considers the Metro East area to be part of Region 4, which includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties.
The rollback of restrictions means that indoor service at bars and restaurants can resume, and indoor gatherings can include 50 people or 50% of overall room capacity, officials said.
Once that takes effect, additional restrictions will remain in place in Region 1, which includes Rockford, Dixon and Galena, where the seven-day test positivity rate remains higher than 8%.