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Question of the day

Thursday, Jun 10, 2021

* Press release…

Illinois will move to a full reopening, also known as Phase 5, the final phase of the Restore Illinois plan, on Friday, June 11, 2021. On Friday, the state will eliminate all capacity limits on businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and all other venues. Mask requirements for vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals continue to align with CDC guidelines.

The state reaches this point as it records the lowest number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, the lowest test positivity rate, and more than 68% of Illinois residents age 18 and over who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“A strong economy requires that people not only feel safe, but truly be safe, as they go about their lives as workers, neighbors, consumers, and friends – and thanks to the lifesaving power of vaccinations, that day is finally here for Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I invite all Illinoisans to feel the hope and joy of this moment while also recognizing that this pandemic is still very present for the world at large – not to mention those here at home who have not been or cannot be vaccinated. As we take this next step forward, let’s do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to community, and to making each day together count. You did it, Illinois.”

Today the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting 366 new confirmed and probable cases, 764 people in the hospital with COVID-19, and a test positivity rate of 1.3%. These are some of the lowest COVID-19 statistics reported in Illinois to date. Additionally, IDPH is reporting 209 people with COVID-19 in the ICU and 103 people on ventilators. These are also some of the lowest counts we’ve seen since the pandemic began.

Currently, 11.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Illinois residents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting more than 68% of residents age 18 and older in Illinois have received at least one dose of vaccine and 51% of adults are fully vaccinated. Additionally, more than 88% of Illinois seniors have received at least one dose of vaccine.

“It is a very exciting time as we reach the point where businesses can operate without capacity limits and we are seeing the return of large events we’ve enjoyed in the past,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “However, it is important to remember that we are still in a world pandemic and not everyone has the protection of one of the safest and most effective vaccines ever. Currently, there is not a vaccine authorized for children younger than 12 years and some adults have chosen not to be vaccinated. For these reasons, it is important for unvaccinated people to continue to wear masks while in public and to socially distance. The virus can continue to spread among unvaccinated individuals, which could lead to additional mutations and new, more virulent variants.”

In accordance with guidance from the CDC, fully vaccinated people in Illinois can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Consistent with CDC guidance, fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons are required to wear a face covering in certain situations including (1) on public transportation, planes, buses, trains, and in transportation hubs such as airports and train and bus stations; (2) in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters; and (3) in health care settings. Individuals in schools and day cares must also continue to wear face coverings per guidance issued by the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

According to the CDC, it is critical that schools use and layer prevention strategies. Schools providing in-person instruction should prioritize two prevention strategies:

Universal and correct use of masks should be required; and
Physical distancing should be maximized to the greatest extent possible.

Municipalities and businesses in most industries may choose to continue to implement public health mitigations as they deem appropriate, including requiring face coverings.

To help businesses recover from the pandemic, the Governor, in partnership with the General Assembly, announced $1.5 billion in funding next year to support business grants, tourism, workforce, affordable housing, violence prevention, capital projects and other investments throughout Illinois. This investment follows the $580 million invested last year for Business Interruption grants to aid businesses in pandemic impacted industries and childcare providers.

“Today’s advancement to Phase 5 is a significant milestone in our work to combat the virus and get the Illinois economy back on track. Through Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, we have continued to lead on testing, vaccines and providing economic relief programs that are essential to supporting the return of workers and businesses amid the pandemic,” said Acting DCEO Director Sylvia Garcia. “Now, as businesses are set to fully reopen across the state, DCEO remains committed to implementing key programs that will not only reinvigorate our small businesses, workforce, and tourism, but that will build back our state’s economy stronger than ever before.”

Businesses and communities can learn more about Phase 5 recommended public health practices by visiting IDPH’s website.

* The Question: Will you be doing anything special tomorrow or this weekend to celebrate? Tell us about it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:15 pm:

    I’m meeting up with friends I’ve only seen on Zoom for the last 15 months. Also I’m seeing “In the Heights” in a movie theater instead of streaming it.

  2. - Seats - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:23 pm:

    Not this weekend but have tickets for the Sox vs Mariners first full capacity weekend at the end of the month.

  3. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:25 pm:

    Nothing this weekend but can’t seem to get to the planning stage of planning the next vacation. So happy about our COVID progress. There are so many places to visit but have to pick something—something with beautiful outdoors. Something maybe on the New England or Northwest coast.

  4. - JMJ - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:26 pm:

    I will be having a bbq for my birthday with actual people who don’t live with me.

  5. - Majority of Me - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:38 pm:

    I will see a movie in the movie theater.

  6. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:45 pm:

    Nothing different than I’ve been doing since I’m fully vaxxed.

  7. - Amalia - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:53 pm:

    seeing friends, but then I ‘ve done that already. still wearing masks in stores as heavy variant on the rise and several Bears players don’t want to get the vaccine, including one whose mom is a cancer patient. vax up.

  8. - Arsenal - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:55 pm:

    I’ve gradually resumed normal activities for the last several weeks anyway, but a beer at a bar after work tomorrow sounds divine.

  9. - OneMan - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:58 pm:

    A local comedy club is having a show (or at least free tickets) for health care workers this weekend and my wife (the reason we got the tickets) and I are going.

  10. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:01 pm:

    I hope to have lunch at a brew pub, go to a few movies, maybe pop down to Springfield. It feels odd to be out and about, so I’m easing in to whatever the new normal turns out to be.

  11. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:09 pm:

    I’ll say what I’m -not- doing, is, ever again patronizing any of the places that defied the masking and closure orders. Those restaurants and bars are forever dead to me, and I will support the places that did follow the rules, as hard as that was for them financially, because they understood human lives were at stake.

  12. - I wonder… - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:09 pm:

    Traveling and seeing family for the first time in almost two years.

  13. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:13 pm:

    Is it?…over?

  14. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:17 pm:

    Look’s like it might be a great afternoon for Obed’s.

  15. - truthteller - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:18 pm:

    we will remain cautious for next few months when it comes to large groups and close quarters as the COVID variances have to be kept in mind going forward for a while

  16. - Montrose - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:19 pm:

    Since being fully vaxxed, I have done a lot of things I didn’t the last year - drink at a bar inside, eat at a restaurant inside, see family and friends indoors and masked. It feels both weird and glorious at the same time.

  17. - - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:23 pm:

    Since being fully vaxxed I have shopped in person at Binny’s, the Standard Market, and HyVee (in Iowa). I have also eaten at a restaurant while not in my car. It was nice to see my fave Mexican restaurant (Hacienda Cocula in La Grange make it through the pandemic even keeping most of their normal staff.

    Forget being king. It’s good to be vaxxed.

  18. - Anon221 - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:38 pm:

    Agree that it’s good to be vaxxed, and I’m a lot less stressed than at this time last year. However, I will still be wearing a mask, socially distancing, and all the rest. Outdoor events with space will be great again. But indoors… not yet… maybe not until next year. The variants have me very concerned, and until we know more about those, the more little COVIDs I can fight back against by masking, the better and safer I’ll feel for the summer.

  19. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:43 pm:

    I’m not ready yet. I’ll do outdoor events, grocery store while masked and known-good vaccinated friends. Eating in a restaurant is still a bridge too far.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:44 pm:

    Fully vaccinated, waiting period over, etc…

    Probably not do anything all that special or unique or… but I’ll probably golf like last weekend, hang in the grill room, because that’ll be likely allowed, and be at peace to the normalcy not the necessity of getting to do something I enjoy that was “acceptable”

    There’s something to be said for doing something normal and feeling the normalcy to it.

  21. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:48 pm:

    I will eat, drink, and be merry unmasked outdoors.
    Will visit unmasked with fully-vaxed friends in private homes.
    But, will remain masked indoors at public places.
    Because………..the unvaxed and the variants.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 2:59 pm:

    === But, will remain masked indoors at public places.===

    I personally have only surrounded myself with vaccinated folks, indoors I’ve continued to be respectful to any and all requests and restrictions (masks) as defined, and I won’t go back to places that I know that risked lives for money, including waitstaff.

    Last weekend all the times I was indoors, masks were “required, but if vaccinated” and was cognizant of waitstaff choosing to wear masks. That all might change this weekend at the locations.

  23. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 3:01 pm:

    Nope. Pretty much been back to normal for 2 months. Now if I can eat at my favorite little hole-in-the-wall joint, I will. But since they only have like 6 tables, they have been closed for indoor dining. I need a gyro bad.

  24. - Keyrock - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 3:30 pm:

    Going to my first in-person religious service this weekend. Still wearing masks there.

  25. - Corn Country - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 3:51 pm:

    Fully faxed since February - still doing voluntary isolating before visiting expectant family member - has about 5 more weeks to go until delivery. She will get vaccinated post-delivery following her physician’s guidance.

    Hooray for warm weather and getting outdoors frequently.

  26. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 4:11 pm:

    “Will you be doing anything special tomorrow or this weekend to celebrate?”

    Supporting some musician friends with my applause and money on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

    – MrJM

  27. - iroquois county dem - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 4:21 pm:

    Going out for dinner and a couple drinks for my oldest granddaughters 35th birthday

  28. - Almost retired - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 4:45 pm:

    Been fully vaccinated since February. Have son and daughter-in-law having their first baby and she isn’t vaccinated but will be. Have adult disabled son he is fully vaccinated but obese and immune compromised. Live in County that only has 34% vaccinated. I personally feel safe and if I got it -it would be mild case. I can’t afford to be a carrier and infect others. Mask will stay on. No large indoor or crowded outdoor events-no eating inside restaurants or movies. Number of new cases down in County but testing numbers are minimal. This week so far two deaths in County. This is not over. Variants exist and not enough people vaccinated where I live. I change very little except for not feeling as much at risk when I grocery shop.

  29. - yinn - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 7:03 pm:

    Hit my fully-vaxxed date this week. Visited 2 stores with mask and felt like employees there were especially friendly and attentive. Considering organizing a friends’ reunion at a state park where there are plenty of outdoor options for recreation and dining.

  30. - RNUG - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 8:31 pm:

    Since we’re fully vaccinated, already been acting like the State is wide open.

    As to this weekend specifically, going on the IL RT-66 Motor Tour that was cancelled last year. Will be the first time driving Mrs RNUG’s newer toy over the Chain of Rocks Bridge. At the end on Sunday we get a sneak preview of the IL Rock n Roll Illinois Hall of Fame Museum. Should be fun.

  31. - Glengarry - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 11:56 pm:

    Nope. My kids aren’t fully vaccinated.

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