SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois moves on to Phase 3 of reopening Friday, but that will not apply to long-term care facilities that have been vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Non-essential businesses like restaurants, retail stores and personal services will be opening for the first time in two months.
However, nursing homes will remain closed to visitors for the foreseeable future. There have been numerous deadly virus outbreaks at nursing homes across the country and in Illinois since March.
Gov. JB Pritzker said the state’s 1,200 facilities will remain closed to visitors as the state moves to Phase 3.
Pritzker said he realized this is a difficult decision, but he’s doing it to protect the elderly and vulnerable after receiving federal guidance.
“I must admit to you, the CDC is telling every state that this may be one of the last things in dealing with COVID that will happen is new visitors or visitors being able to come back into those facilities because it’s precisely from those visitors, even those who are asymptomatic who may not think they have COVID-19, that you get an outbreak”, the governor said.
As Illinois begins the process of reopening, the state has now recorded more than 5,000 deaths due to COVID-19.
More than 800,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered statewide, with a positivity rate of 8.6 percent.
The governor is working to build-up the state’s contact tracing efforts, and a number of people will need to be hired to help implement that.
On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration released a few more details about plans to reopen Chicago, which won’t happen until early June. Office settings will be limited to running at 25% capacity, and restaurants that want to reopen will be primarily restricted to outdoor seating and permits will still have to be purchased.
You can view the full list of Chicago’s reopening guidelines here.