Restore Illinois Five Phase Plan Explained: How Gov. J. B. Pritzker Plans to Reopen State

Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker has announced his five-phase plan for reopening the state, but what does it mean for the state residents?

A stay-at-home order has been in place since March 17, 2020, with people directed to maintain a 6-foot distance from one another outside of the home. With phase two of the plan currently in place and an extended stay-at-home taking effect at the beginning of May, what needs to happen for the next phase of the plan to be activated?

What are the five phases of Illinois' reopening plan?

With each stage, businesses will be allowed to be open and gatherings will be able to get larger.

Phase One: This will be a strict stay at home and social distancing stage of the plan. Only essential businesses remain open.

Phase Two: This will allow non-essential retail stores to reopen for curbside pickup and delivery. Residents in the state will be directed to wear a face-covering when outside the home and will be able to enjoy outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing as long as social distancing is adhered to.

This is the current achieved phase, but if a second wave hits it could send the state back to phase one.

Phase Three: This stage will see manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. Gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed and face covering and social distancing will continue.

Phase Four: Gatherings of 50 people or fewer will be allowed with restaurants and bars to reopen. Travel can resume as well as child care and schools, under the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Phase Five: The economy will be fully reopened with safety precautions in place. Conventions, festivals and large events will be permitted and all businesses, schools and places of recreation can open with new safety guidelines and procedures.

Getty Images Illinois Chicago Reopening
People pass by a lion sculpture in front of the Art Institute wearing a mask with a depiction of the Chicago flag on April 30, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. On May 1, the state of Illinois will begin requiring everyone to wear a face mask in public when social distancing is not possible to prevent the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Scott Olson/Getty Images

How will the governor decide how to move onto the next phase?

Under the new five-phase plan, four different health regions will be able to independently move through the plan as long as metrics are met. These regions are Northeast Illinois, North-central Illinois, Central Illinois and Southern Illinois.

Each region covers the 11 emergency medical services regions, which has traditionally guided statewide public health work and will continue to inform the reopening plan, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

For the next phase of the plan to be activated, the governor's office and the department of public health will look at data to see if targets are met. Phase two is activated when the following metrics are met:

  • New case growth slows
  • Surge hospital capacity
  • 10,000 tests per day statewide
  • Testing for any symptomatic healthcare workers and first responders

To date, Illinois has performed 346,286 tests across the state, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

To move to phase three, case positivity rates must be at or under 20 percent. Hospital capacity benchmarks will also need to be met. Contact tracing and monitoring will begin within 24 hours of diagnosis and testing will be available for patients, healthcare workers and at-risk residents.

Eventually, the plan will move through the later stages when testing is available regardless of symptoms or risk factors and contact tracing happens within 24 hours for more than 90 percent of cases.

The plan considers a post-pandemic scenario to include a vaccine that is effective and widely available or the elimination of new cases over a sustained period of time. The plan says this can be achieved through herd immunity or other factors.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Illinois has confirmed 2,834 deaths (these deaths are patients who have tested positive for the virus) and 65,962 confirmed coronavirus cases. Case recovery numbers were not available. According to the latest graphic provided by Statista, Illinois currently has the fourth highest number of COVID-19 cases.

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases By State May 5
The ten states with the highest numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. Statista

In the U.S., 1,204,475 cases have been confirmed with 71,078 deaths confirmed. Confirmed recoveries are currently sitting at 189,791. The nation has the highest case rate globally, according to the latest graphic by Statista.

statista coronavirus
Total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases by country. Statista