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Illinois’ New Coronavirus Restrictions Kick In Friday. Here’s What’s To Expect

"Tier 3 boils down to this: If you don't need to do it, don't," Gov. JB Pritzker said. The state is urging everyone to stay home as much as possible to save lives.

A lone customer receives a shave at ACE Home of the Barber barbershop in the Ravenswood neighborhood on November 8, 2020.
Woojae Julia Song for Block Club Chicago/CatchLight
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CHICAGO — Every part of Illinois will be under new, tighter restrictions from the state starting Friday morning to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The restrictions mean museums, casinos and theaters must close; retail stores must cut capacity; gyms and salons can have fewer customers inside at a time and indoor sports must stop.

Gov. JB Pritzker said he hopes the new rules can help the state prevent tens of thousands of deaths from COVID-19 — and avert a full stay at home order. Modelers have projected up to 45,000 more Illinoisans could die from coronavirus by March without mitigations.

“We will continue to see a rise in both hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 for weeks ahead because of the infections that have already happened,” Pritzker said Tuesday.

“But we can change our longer-term outcome. We can save potentially thousands of lives in the next few months if we make changes right now to stop this in its tracks.”

RELATED: Illinois To Close Casinos, Slash Store Capacity, Stop Indoor Sports As Coronavirus Surges Across State

The restrictions will be in place for at least one “incubation period” — or 14 days — but will likely last longer, Pritzker said, noting it will take time to see new cases, hospitalizations and deaths slow.

Should a region begin to see its COVID-19 numbers drop, the state could lift some of the restrictions and move an area back into Tier 2 mitigations, Pritzker said.

But the rules will only be effective if people follow them, Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, have said. They’re urging Illinoisans to follow the rules and hold each other accountable so more people’s lives can be saved and businesses can see restrictions lifted sooner.

People should also take general coronavirus safety measures, like wearing a mask, not having people over, not gathering with people outside their household and staying home as much as possible, Pritzker and Ezike have said.

“We’re asking people to hold themselves and each other accountable,” Pritzker said Tuesday. “The more we can avoid gatherings now, especially indoors with the people we don’t already live with, the more likely we are to be able to celebrate the December holidays with less risk for our loved ones and ourselves.

“Tier 3 boils down to this: If you don’t need to do it, don’t.”

Here are the rules beginning Friday:

Retail (including service counters)

  • Operate at no more than 25 percent capacity, including general merchandise stores, “big box” stores that offer groceries and pharmacy, and convenience stores.
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies may operate at up to 50 percent capacity.
  • Encourage delivery or curbside pickup options wherever possible.
  • When in-store shopping is necessary, promote efficient trips and consistent circulation.

Personal Care Service (salons, barber shops, etc.)

  • Operate at 25 clients or 25 percent capacity, whichever is fewer.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times by clients and service providers.
  • Services where a face covering cannot be worn (e.g. facials, beard trims) are suspended.
  • Physical, occupational and massage therapy allowed as deemed necessary by a medical provider, but appointments must be spaced apart by a minimum of 15 minutes and facilities should take steps to sanitize and circulate clean air through service rooms before and after each service.
  • Virtual consultations recommended.

Health and Fitness Centers

  • Operate at no more than 25 percent capacity.
  • No indoor group classes.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, including while engaged in individual exercise regardless of person or machine spacing.
  • Reservations required.
  • Locker room areas should be closed.


Religious Services

  • The state is not imposing new restrictions on religious services at this time.
  • There are new restrictions on funerals and other social gatherings, like weddings and potlucks. See below.

Bars and Restaurants

  • All bars and restaurants close at 11 p.m. and may reopen no earlier than 6 a.m. the following day.
  • No indoor service.
  • All bar and restaurant patrons should be seated at tables outside.
  • No ordering, seating or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed).
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart.
  • No standing or congregating outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting.
  • No dancing or standing indoors.
  • No tables exceeding 6 people.
  • Reservations required for each party.
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table.
  • Indoor gaming terminals must suspend operations.
  • Includes private clubs and country clubs.

Meetings, social events and gatherings (including weddings, potlucks, etc.)

  • Limit in-home gatherings to household members.
  • Meeting rooms, banquet centers, private party rooms, private clubs and country clubs may not host gatherings.
  • No party buses.
  • Funerals are limited to 10 family members of the decedents, not including staff.


  • Hotel room occupancy should be limited to registered guests only, with the maximum allowance being the number of individuals permissible per existing fire code for each applicable guest room.
  • Fitness centers should be closed, or operated only on a reservation model, with capacity limited to 25 percent of the maximum occupancy for the room.
  • Grab-and-go food allowed.
  • Event and meeting spaces closed.


  • Additional COVID training for all employees required even if previous training occurred.
  • Operators should coordinate with the Illinois Department of Public Health to implement testing protocols and contact tracing, upon request, consistent with available testing supplies.
  • All employees must wear face coverings at all times unless eating or drinking. Exemptions only for safety purposes.
  • Only manufacturing staff and key personnel allowed in facilities. Non-production employees must work remotely. Non-essential staff and visitors are not permitted. Exemptions only for critical equipment repairs, supply deliveries and safety reasons (“critical visitors”).
  • All critical visitors must have an Employee Health and Safety-approved risk-assessment done in advance, including travel history, tracking, and temperature check prior to entrance.
  • Implement additional workstation realignment when feasible
  • Stagger and space shifts, and designate shift entrances and exits (when possible) to minimize interactions of employees across unique shift groupings.
  • Station sanitation required at beginning and ending of shifts.
  • Operators must suspend COVID-related incentive pay and promote staying home when sick or showing symptoms.
  • Implement temporary leave policies to accommodate workers who are sick.
  • Develop and implement safety protocols for employee travel vans to promote spacing, require face coverings, temperature checks, air circulation, and vehicle sanitization.


  • All employees who can work remotely should work remotely.

Organized group recreational activities (sports, indoor sports and activity facilities, etc.)

  • Pause all indoor group sporting and recreational activities including youth and adult recreational sports, individual training may remain (with facility reservation).
  • Includes park districts and travel leagues.
  • Outdoor sports and recreation allowed.
  • Participant groups and practices outdoors limited to 10 persons or less with social distancing.
  • Face coverings required for all activities at all times.
  • Locker rooms should be closed.

Indoor recreation, theaters, cultural institutions (e.g. casinos, bowling, arcades, movie theaters, museums and zoos)

  • Gaming and casinos close.
  • Indoor recreation centers, including theaters, performing arts centers and indoor museums and amusement centers close.
  • Live streaming of performances encouraged with social distancing of performers and minimum operational staff.
  • Outdoor activities allowed at 25 percent capacity or less.
  • Outdoor group activities limited to 10 persons or fewer, participants/guests must wear face coverings at all times.
  • Reservations required for each guest for outdoor activities.

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