Illinois moved into Phase 5 of the state’s reopening plan Friday, fully reopening for the first time since March 2020. All businesses will be allowed to operate at full capacity and gatherings of all sizes will be permitted, according to the new rules. Masks will still be required on public transportation and in schools and hospitals as well as for those who are not yet fully vaccinated in all public settings.
The reopening comes as COVID-19 metrics continue to decline in the city and state, but also as the more contagious Delta variant — first discovered in India — has been detected in Illinois and Chicago.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,387,029 cases of COVID-19 in Illinois and 23,035 deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Redistricting Drama and Ward Remap
Illinois Republicans are asking a judge to toss out the new legislative maps signed into law last week by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The maps are based on data from the American Community Survey, instead of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which state Republicans say is unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, a coalition of community groups have begun redrawing Chicago’s ward boundaries, though no City Council members have committed to giving up their power to redraw the map, according to leaders of the coalition.
Illinois’ General Assembly will meet again next week to finish leftover items from last session. This includes the controversial energy bill, and legislation that would create an elected school board.