Governor Pritzker announces "Restore Illinois Plan"


With the highest number of COVID-19 deaths overnight (176) just announced, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker laid out a four-region, five-phase Restore Illinois Plan this afternoon. 

“Until we have a vaccine or an effective treatment or enough widespread immunity that new cases fail to materialize, the option of returning to normalcy doesn’t exist,” Pritzker said. 

Statewide, there have been 65,962 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 with 2,838 related deaths according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).


Governor J. B. Pritzker

Pritzker pointed out that moving through the phases to a "restored" Illinois will be guided by health metrics and with that this is an initial framework that will likely be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for treatments or vaccines is realized. 

The plan is based upon regional healthcare availability, and it recognizes the distinct impact COVID-19 has had on different regions of our state as well as regional variations in hospital capacity. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has 11 Emergency Medical Services Regions that have traditionally guided its statewide public health work and will continue to provide data to the this reopening plan. 

For the purposes of this plan, from those 11, four health regions are established. Each will have the ability to independently move through a phased approach: Northeast Illinois; North-Central Illinois; Central Illinois; and Southern Illinois. 

IDPH website has multiple data resources.


First -- 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. 
Second -- 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.
  • Occurred on Friday.
  • Nonessential retail businesses could reopen for curbside pickup and delivery and for additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing to resume under social distancing guidelines.
  • Face coverings are to be worn, if 6 foot distancing is not possible. (Several businesses are requiring customers to wear a mask when entering.) 
  • Every region is experiencing flattening as of early May. 

Third --  Recovery

  • Begins when the number of hospital and the number needing intensive-care unit beds is stable or declining for COVID-19 patient admissions.
  • Manufacturing, offices, retailers as well as barbershops and salons could reopen, with capacity limits and other restrictions.
  • Face coverings and social distancing will still be required.
  • Earliest this can occur is May 29. 

Fourth -- Revitalization

  • The rate of infection among those surveillance tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline.
  • Groups of 50 or fewer will be allowed.
  • Re-openings for restaurants, bars  travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • Face coverings and masks would still be required along with social distancing measures. 

Fifth -- Illinois restored

  • Testing, tracing and treatment are widely available throughout the state. 
  • 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.  

Backward movement

As testing is conducted, IDPH will closely monitor data and receive on-the-ground feedback from local health departments and regional healthcare councils. 

If infected cases are on the increase, there will be recommendation to apply more restrictions again. 

The criteria for moving backward would be:

  • Sustained rise in positivity rate
  • Sustained increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness
  • Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities
  • Significant outbreak in the region that threatens the health of the region

Future normal

  • New health and hygiene practices will permanently in place.
  • Public health experts focus on lessons learned and building out the public health infrastructure needed to meet and overcome future challenges.
  • Heath care equity is made a priority to improve health outcomes and ensure vulnerable communities receive the quality care they deserve. 


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