SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois health officials announced that Region 4, consisting of the Metro East region and surrounding counties, will be relaxed to Tier 2 mitigations, effective on Friday.
The IDPH added that if metrics continue to improve or stay stable, regions 10 and 11, which are suburban Cook County and Chicago, are on track to advance to Tier 1 mitigations on Saturday.
Friday’s announcement puts all 11 regions in Illinois out of Tier 3 mitigations, but IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike warns precaution must continue.
“With all regions of Illinois now out of Tier 3, we can now see that the entire state is headed down the right path. During the summer, we were on this same path. We know that we must continue to take precautions and be smart about how we relax some of the mitigation measures, which are in place to protect our health and safety,” Ezike said.
The IDPH announced test positivity will continue to be closely monitored, alongside hospital capacity and ICU bed availability. Should data show regions trending in the wrong direction, regions can once again see increased mitigation measures.
The news has restaurant owners thankful for the return of indoor dining, as the cold January wind has drastically cut down on outdoor dining sales.
Jeff Lawler owns Geja’s Cafe in Lincoln Park. The establishment, which has been open since 1965, is known for mouthwatering fondue. The last year has been rough for the restaurant, but Lawler is hopeful for his cafe and other restaurants.
“We’ve laid off staff, normal staffing level is 40 people and we are running with 15 right now,” Lawler said. “We are very excited to hear the news we heard to day from Governor Pritzker about opening tomorrow.”
However, Lawler is holding off on welcoming guests inside until Thursday.
“The staff we are bringing in, we want to have them tested before they come in,” Lawler said. “We need to order food and wines because we haven’t had the need for as much food as we will.”
More information on mitigation and resurgence metrics can be found at IDPH’s website here.