CHICAGO — Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed the State of Illinois will begin its Bridge Phase on Friday, meaning it will be one step closer to Phase 5, which is a full reopening and lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
Under Bridge Phase, there are expanded capacity limits for businesses, dining, offices, events, conferences and gatherings. Barring any significant reversals in key COVID-19 statewide indicators, including increasing hospitalizations, Illinois could enter Phase 5 as soon as June 11. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said her goal is to have the city fully reopened by July 4.
The following guidelines will be in place during the Bridge Phase:
For a full list of Illinois guidelines, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov.
“Illinoisans have worked so hard over the past year and a half to keep their families and neighbors safe, and reaching Bridge Phase means that we’re closer than ever to a return to normalcy,” Pritzker said. “To keep up this progress, I urge every eligible Illinoisan — now including 12 to 15-year-olds — to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
With the expanded capacity, business owners are looking to accommodate more customers while keeping everyone safe.
“We’re trying to find a balance between making our staff and our customers feel safe and we’re going to work through that on a day-to-day basis,” Comminwealth Bar and Restaurant owner Matt Baldino said.
More than 10.3 million vaccine doses have been administered to Illinoisans at mass vaccination sites, local health departments, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, mobile clinics, and other locations across the state.
On Thursday, the Pfizer vaccine was available to youth ages 12 through 17 years after the CDC on Wednesday accepted the recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to expand the use of the vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 years of age and older.
“The more people who are vaccinated, now including our youth as young as 12-years-old, the quicker we can end this pandemic,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.
IDPH will continue to monitor the number of ICU hospital beds that are available, the number of patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19, and the number of people being newly admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19-like-illness.