Capacity restrictions, outdoor mask requirements to be lifted in Illinois

Regional News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker laid out plans Friday for the state to move to Phase 5 of its reopening plan; the state is set to move into this phase of its Restore Illinois plan next Friday, June 11.

Phase 5, the final phase in the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan, will lift capacity limits on all venues, restaurants and any other public gatherings. Outdoor mask requirements will be fully lifted as well, according to a press release from Pritzker sent Friday.

“After a tremendously challenging year, Illinois has now reached a defining moment in our efforts to defeat COVID-19,” Pritzker said. “Thanks to the hard work of residents across the state, Illinois will soon resume life as we knew it before – returning to events, gatherings, and a fully reopened economy, with some of the safety guidelines we’ve adopted still in place.”

The lifting of outdoor mask requirements does not mean that all safety measures are called off in Illinois, however. In the press release the state clarified that while fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in many situations, masks will still be required on public transportation and in large indoor public areas such as hospitals and schools. Despite this, Pritzker did clarify that outdoor mask requirements for schools at recess or in physical education classes will be lifted.

Additionally, the state is encouraging all residents who have not yet been vaccinated to continue wearing masks in all settings and to get the vaccine as soon as possible. As of 3 p.m. Saturday, over 5 million Illinois residents, or about 42% of the total population, have been fully vaccinated according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Pritzker’s Friday press release also clarified that while private businesses may return to full capacity starting next Friday, it is still at the discretion of the owners to decide their own limits. The same thing goes for mask requirements inside private practices, the press release said.

“As we fully reopen, this administration remains laser focused on ensuring a strong recovery for our small businesses and communities,” Pritzker said in the press release. “Our FY22 budget invests $1.5 billion in small business relief, tourism, job-creating capital projects and more and we look forward to getting these dollars to communities across our state as quickly as possible.”

The state also clarified Friday that these changes are also subject to change by local governments if they want to impose more cautious restrictions. However, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has previously announced that the city of Chicago will enter Phase 5 on June 11 without any changes to the state’s guidelines.

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