When Governor J.B. Pritzker announced his Restore Illinois plan to reopen the state earlier this month, he established that all four regions of the state were currently in Phase 2 and that May 29 would be the earliest date that any region could graduate to Phase 3. According to the data being tracked by the Illinois Department of Public Health, all four regions of the state are currently on track to move into Phase 3 on May 29, and today we learned about some restrictions that will be relaxed in this phase.
Keep in mind that Chicago may choose not to embrace some of these new guidelines, as the city is currently operating on its own reopening plan that differs from the state's. "Local governments have every right to establish stricter guidance to local businesses or for local recreation in any of these areas," Gov. Pritzker stated.
Gov. Prtizker also noted that, though restrictions are being loosened, "the virus has not gone away." He implored Illinois residents to continue to wash their hands, practice social distancing, wear face coverings and use caution as they begin venturing outdoors and coming into contact with other individuals more frequently.
Here's a look at what's changing during Phase 3 of the Illinois reopening plan.
Bars and restaurants can reopen outdoor seating
Yes, you might actually get to sit on the patio at your favorite neighborhood restaurant this summer. Gov. Prtizker announced that he'll allow bars and restaurant to reopen with outdoor seating once Phase 3 begins—something that was not initially included in the Restore Illinois plan. "With the right restrictions, tables 6 feet apart and away from the sidewalks, masks and distancing measure for staff and other precautions, the experts believe that these services can open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities and give our hospitality industry a much-needed boost as they work to keep their businesses on their feet during this terrible crisis," Gov. Pritzker said.
Because not every restaurant and bar has a patio, Gov. Pritzker also encouraged mayors to help restaurants and bars expand outdoor seating options. That could mean additional sidewalk permits or makeshift patios set up in unused parking lots or closed streets this summer, depending on Mayor Lightfoot's willingness to adapt the city to meet the needs of local businesses.
You can gather in groups of 10 people of fewer
In Phase 3, you'll finally be able to spend time with your friends and family once again—as long as you're wearing a face covering when social distancing can't be maintained. Gov. Pritzker specifically mentioned that picnics or going on a walk with nine other friends would be allowable, so expect to see a lot of outdoor gatherings throughout the summer. Boating with 10 or fewer people (in watercraft with the proper capacity) was also mentioned, but Mayor Lightfoot has continued to restrict boating in Chicago, and it remains to be seen if she'll embrace the state's loosening of restrictions.
You can hit the tennis court and golf course
Gov. Pritzker announced that indoor and outdoor tennis courts will be allowed to reopen with new safety precautions and capacity limits. He also announced that golf courses will be able to allow foursomes out on the same tee times. Gov. Pritzker said that he'll release guidelines for other outdoor recreational businesses, such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges and paintball courses.
You can go to any Illinois state park
Under new staffing restrictions and safety measures, every state park in Illinois will be able to reopen on May 29, allowing visitors to hike, camp and enjoy nature while observing social distancing measures. Additionally, concession providers inside of state parks will be able to reopen under the same guidelines applied to restaurants throughout the state.
You can go to barbershops, tattoo parlors and nail salons
After going weeks without a haircut (or a manicure), you'll be able to visit personal care service providers in Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan. The experience of visiting these businesses will be very different, with new safety measures and capacity limits in place—for example, some salons we spoke to mentioned pre-appointment waivers and temperature checks.
You can get one-on-one training at gyms, health clubs and fitness studios
The treadmills aren't going to be packed with sweaty people the next time you step inside the gym. Phase 3 regulations allow for one-on-one training at indoor facilities, though its unclear if what the capacity limits for buildings offering these personal services will be. Trainers can also host outdoor fitness classes with up to 10 people.
You can go shopping at retail stores
While it's unlikely that every retail store will chose to reopen at this time, Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan allows any retail business that was not already reopened to begin allowing in-person shopping. Of course, there will be new safety precautions for staff and shoppers (for example, face coverings will always be required) and capacity limits in place.
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