(WAND) - Tuesday afternoon, Governor JB Pritzker released a 5-phase plan on safely reopening the state, called "Restore Illinois."
Pritzker said the plan was built on data, science and guidance from public health experts to open the state with a focus on saving lives, livelihood and safely reopening Illinois.
"We have to figure out how to live with COVID-19 until it can be vanquished – and to do so in a way that best supports our residents’ health and our healthcare systems, and saves the most lives," Pritzker said. "Restore Illinois is a public health plan to safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold in our fight against COVID-19. This is also a data-driven plan that operates on a region-by-region basis, a recognition that reality on the ground looks different in different areas of our state."
The plan's five phases are: 1) Rapid Spread - which Pritzker said Illinois was in from early March to April 30th, 2) Flattening - which Pritzker said the state is in right now, and three more phases yet to come: 3) Recovery, 4) Revitalization and 5) Illinois Restored. Details on the five phases are at the bottom of this article.
Pritzker said some parts of the state could move to Phase 3 as soon as May 29, and also that IDPH could signal that the state needs to move back a phase if cases begin to rise rapidly again.
This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has 11 Emergency Medical Services Regions with the hopes that each region will independently move through the phased approach. This includes, Northeast Illinois; North-Central Illinois; Central Illinois; and Southern Illinois.
Pritzker said in part, as businesses reopen, employers should do everything in their power to allow remote work for elderly employees and those at high risk for the virus.
According to Pritzker, enforcement of these phases will depend on each local authority. But he said we hope that residents enforce the plans themselves.
The five phases of reopening for each health region are as follows:
Phase 1 – Rapid Spread: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.
"We've been through this phase once, and no one wants to go backward," Pritzker said about Phase One.
Phase 2 – Flattening: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory. Non-essential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home, and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.
"Many of our Phase 2 mitigations are similar to Phase 1, but adjustments were made to offer flexibility where public health experts told us we could," Pritzker said.
Phase 3 – Recovery: The rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. All gatherings limited to 10 or fewer people are allowed. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
"At that point, with face coverings as the norm, non-essential manufacturing and other non-essential businesses can open in accordance with safety guidance," Pritzker said about Phase Three.
Phase 4 – Revitalization: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. All gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the IDPH. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
"Restaurants, bars, spas, cinemas... health and fitness clubs can open with new capacity limits and DPH-approved safety guidance," Pritzker said about Phase Four.
Phase 5 – Illinois Restored: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Large conventions, festivals, and other major events will be on hold until we reach Phase Five," Pritzker said.
A full version of the plan can be found here.