Illinois releases guidelines for businesses to reopen as coronavirus cases top 110,000

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – All four regions established in the “Restore Illinois” plan remain on track to advance to Phase 3 of reopening amidst the coronavirus pandemic as of Sunday.

Storefronts in much of the state are closed, but officials say at as many as 700,000 people could go back to work on Friday.

According to figures released by the Illinois Department of Public Health Sunday, 2,508 new cases of COVID-19 and 67 additional deaths were reported over the past day, bringing the statewide total up to 110,304 cases and 4,856 deaths.

The percent of coronavirus tests that came back positive over the past seven days dropped to 12 percent as of Sunday. This rolling “positivity rate” also remains below the limit required to move on to the next phase of reopening in the northeast region, which includes Chicago, as well as in the other three regions.

In addition to the return to work and reopening of specific businesses, Phase 3 permits small group gatherings of 10 or fewer and select sports and outdoor activities like tennis, boating and camping where safe social distancing can be practiced.

Governor JB Pritzker unveiled industry-specific guidelines Sunday that he said allow for the safe reopening of businesses as the state progresses into Phase 3 on Friday.

“In every aspect of our pandemic response, and especially as we begin to safely reopen meaningful swaths of our economy, our number one priority must be the health and safety of our workers, our customers, and Illinoisans at large,” Pritzker said.

Phase 3 will allow offices, salons and barbershops, retail stores and manufacturing plants to re-open. Bars and restaurants would be open for outdoor drinking and dining.

While there are specific guidelines for each industry, all of them include the required use of face coverings, social distancing, and informational signage on-site, among other preventative measures.

Tony Odisho is remodeling Exsalonce Salon and Spa in Roscoe Village, preparing to reopen while dealing with the realities and risks of the pandemic.

“Pretty much what we’re trying to do is create space, open space,” Odisho said. “The safety of our clients and our staff is our first priority.”

You can find all guidelines and toolkits for businesses here.

In addition to his new layout, Odisho says he’ll have masks, sanitizer, hand washing stations and fewer clients spaced throughout the day and throughout his salon.

“What was in the past is in the past, and the future is going to be like this, so we really have to face it and make those changes,” Odisho said.

State officials estimate Phase 3 could return about $150 billion to the state’s economy; that’s about a fifth of Illinois’ annual GDP.

Pritzker said the guidelines were written with input from more than 200 people, including business owners, workers, labor unions, industry associations, and other experts.

“Make no mistake, these are just our first steps forward in what will be a long and difficult journey,” Pritzker said.

The lengthy Phase 3 guidelines span 10 different industry categories, and are posted on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity web site.

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