Yesterday, Governor Pritzker announced that the Illinois counties included in Region 3 have met all criteria to move to Phase 4 of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan. This includes all of the communities I represent in the 95th District in Central Illinois.
This move is good for businesses that have really struggled and for schools that have been hesitant to bring children back to in-person learning. Phase 4 still includes restrictions and mask mandates, but it is a definite step in the right direction.
Don’t get me wrong. Governor Pritzker continuing to do this by himself without consulting the legislature is wrong and I am continuing to push for more accountability and more common sense. The General Assembly and local leaders need to be involved in these decisions because we are the ones who live in the communities and we have the best understanding of our districts’ unique characteristics.
Restaurants and bars have been disproportionately punished by the Governor’s unilateral executive orders and COVID-19 mitigations. But under this new phase, our restaurants and bars can reopen with the following guidelines:
- Tables in seating areas must be six feet apart with impermeable barriers installed between booths that are less than six feet apart
- Indoor dining and drinking is limited to parties of up to 10 people
- Standing areas should be limited to no more than 25% of standing area capacity
Under the Phase 4 guidelines, outdoor spectator sports may resume, but at 20% spectator capacity, and concessions are permitted with certain guidelines. Indoor spectator sports are still not permitted in Phase 4. Outdoor gatherings, like family reunions, are limited to 50 people.
With regard to our schools, Pre-K-12 schools and child care facilities can be open with IDPH guidelines in place.
Businesses deemed “non-essential” in the earliest days of the pandemic can remain open or re-open, and manufacturing businesses can remain open with IDPH health and safety guidelines in place.
Read a full list of Phase 4 guidelines here.
If we continue forward with the Governor’s Restore Illinois plan, it states that we can only move to Phase 5, or full reopening when we have a vaccine that is effective and widely available, or if we have an elimination of new cases over a sustained period of time through herd immunity or other factors.
I will continue to fight for legislative involvement in future COVID-19 decisions and will also continue to push for hearings into the Governor’s many failings in his handling of this health pandemic. This includes his decision to continually move the goalposts in his response benchmarks, his inability and unwillingness to solve the unemployment insurance problems and identify fraud problems within the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), unacceptable delays within the FOID card and CCL issuance and renewal systems, and his recent decision to prioritize sending COVID vaccinations to inmates.