Illinois governor announces 5-phase reopening plan

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced a five-part tentative plan for reopening businesses and institutions in the state in a Twitter thread Tuesday.

The plan, Pritzker wrote, began with the state’s original stay-at-home order, which he wrote served to "bend the curve, curtail the rapid spread of the virus and give us time to expand hospital capacity.”

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The second phase, he wrote, began May 1 and involves flattening hospital use and infection rates and increasing testing capacity, with residents wearing facial coverings wherever social distancing is not possible.

Individual regions of the state that successfully “meet certain thresholds over the next few weeks,” he wrote, will be allowed to enter the third phase, in which state parks and nonessential businesses can reopen and public gatherings of no more than 10 people can resume.

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The fourth phase, Pritzker wrote, will be allowed for regions that demonstrate continued drops in positive tests for the virus and in hospitalizations. It would allow the reopening, with capacity limits, of bars, restaurants, spas, theaters, gyms and retailers.

The fifth phase, which Pritzker dubbed “Illinois Restored,” will not occur until either a vaccine or an effective treatment is available or there are no new cases over a sustained period.

Pritzker also warned of circumstances in which the state could move backward, including sustained increases in either the positive rate or hospital admissions, or a reduction in hospital capacity.

“I know this is difficult. This virus has uprooted lives & caused immeasurable hardship for millions in our state,” he wrote. “But I still believe that our strongest weapon against COVID-19 is one that this virus can never take away from us: the strength of the people who call Illinois home."

Illinois has seen 63,840 coronavirus cases and 2,662 deaths as of Tuesday.