SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Bars and restaurants in Illinois will be able to open to the public with outdoor only seating, Governor JB Pritzker announced on Wednesday. Pritzker also announced several other changes to Phase 3 of the Reopen Illinois Plan. 

Pritzker said, it is important to open these businesses. Bars and restaurants were some of the hardest hit. These businesses employ people from every corner of our state, Pritzker said in Springfield during his daily COVID-19 briefing. 

“We are by no means out of the woods, but directionally, things are getting better. And because of these advances, we are able to make some modifications to allow more activity during Phase 3 of our reopening plan Restore Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our mission has always been to get people back to work, get students back to school and return to as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing the health and safety of Illinoisans.”

Early on the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) made the decision that bars and restaurants would not open inside due to health safety concerns. However, over the past few days Pritzker and IDPH have worked together to make changes to Phase 3 of the 5 Phase plan to reopen the state. 

Pritzker said summer gives these businesses a better opportunity to thrive without health risks. Tables must be six feet apart and away from the sidewalks, masks and distancing measures for staff must continue to be followed, and other precautions and guidance will be issued.

Mayors and city leaders are encouraged to do whatever they can to help these bars and restaurants thrive during this time. 

Pritzker also added that gatherings of 10 people will be allowed in Phase 3. This would include picnics, boating and camping. He still recommends proper social distancing and face coverings to be worn. 

Also, all state parks will reopen in Phase 3. This will also include concession, which will also have to follow guidelines from IDPH. He also added that golfing would soon allow four people to golf together. Carts will also be permitted with one person per cart, or one immediate household per cart. The state will be providing guidance on how other outdoor recreational businesses, such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, and paintball courses can safely open their doors in Phase 3.

Pritzker also will allow for health clubs, gyms and fitness centers to open for one-on-one training in indoor facilities and outdoor fitness classes of up to ten people.

All retail stores can open their doors to in-person shopping with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits in place.

In the original phase 3 reopen, manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions were approved to reopen. 

All four regions of Illinois' Health Regions are ready to move on to Phase 3, the governor announced on Wednesday. That means these new measures will be allowed on May 29 throughout the state. 

Pritzker also shared the news on his Facebook page. 

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