CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. JB Pritzker is lifting extra COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place in the Metro East region of Illinois for more than a month, and the area will be returned to Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan.
The Metro East area (Region 4) has seen its average positivity rate drop from as high as 10.5% on Aug. 27 to 5.8% as of Friday. With its rate now below 6.5% for three days in a row, Region 4 is able to roll back increased mitigation efforts the Illinois Department of Public Health had imposed
“We are excited to see that after weeks of mitigation measures and sacrifice, Region 4 has reduced its positivity rate and can return to Phase 4,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “It takes communities working together to reduce the spread of the virus and lower the positivity rate. I want to thank Region 4 for its hard work to decrease the risk for all of Illinois.”
The state first ordered stricter mitigations for Region 4 — which includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties — on Aug. 18, requiring all bars, restaurants, casinos, and other gaming facilities to close by 11 p.m., and reservations were required for all bars and restaurants. Reception halls also were ordered to close, party buses were shut down, public gatherings were limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25% room capacity.
As cases continued to rise despite the new restrictions, IDPH imposed further mitigations on Sept. 1, halting indoor service at bars and restaurants.
All of those extra restrictions have been lifted, and Metro East is back under Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan, meaning bars and restaurants can resume indoor service and return to normal operating hours, party buses and reception halls can resume service, and larger gatherings will be allowed.
Meantime, Region 1 in northwest Illinois, — which includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago counties — remains under added mitigations that have been in place since Oct. 3, as its average positivity rate remains above 8%, the threshold for IDPH’s increased COVID-19 restrictions.