CHICAGO — All of Illinois could move into Phase 5 — a relative return to “normal” — as soon as June 11, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Thursday.
Under Phase 5, there are no capacity limits on businesses, the economy is fully reopened and large gatherings of all sizes can return — though people will still be expected to wear masks and follow other safety precautions when appropriate.
The move comes as the majority of adult Illinoisans — about 60 percent as of Thursday — have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. Officials said vaccinations have slowed down recently, but they need to continue for the pandemic to truly end.
At the same time, the number of people being hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped.
As a result, on May 14, the state will move into the Bridge Phase of its mitigation plan, Pritzker said at a news conference. That means capacity limits will be loosened for many businesses.
And so long as Illinois doesn’t see an uptick in its COVID-19 metrics, the state will move into Phase 5 as soon as June 11. Similarly, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said earlier this week she hopes to see Chicago “fully open” by early July.
“This good news comes with a caveat: We have all seen throughout this pandemic that this virus and its variants have proven to be unpredictable,” Pritzker said. “Metrics that look strong today are far from a guarantee of how things will look a week, two weeks, a month from now.
“What we do know is we have tools in our arsenal — like vaccinations and wearing masks — that, if we all use them, have proven extremely effective.”
Pritzker said millions more Illinoisans need to get vaccinated. People who haven’t been able to get a shot yet can call the state’s free hotline at 833-621-1284 or go online to get help finding a provider.
“Summer is coming,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “Let’s take the necessary steps now so we can enjoy this summer as it arrives. Wear your mask and get your shots.”
Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 9,646,432 vaccine doses of the 12,247,735 provided to them.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: