SOUTHERN ILLINOIS – Three of the state’s 11 designated regions are now able to lift a few COVID-19 mitigations, including lowering to Tier 1 for the Region Five, home to most of southern Illinois.
The change will allow indoor dining at 25-percent of capacity or 25 people per room, effective immediately. The guidelines also note reservations are required and limited to two hours, no tables exceeding four people indoors, and bar and restaurant hours limited to 6 am to 11 pm. Bars must serve food for indoor service to qualify for reopening.
Due to declining numbers, regions one, two and five are dropping from tier three mitigations, the strictest COVID-related rules, to tier two and tier one. That includes counties in northern, north-central and southern Illinois.
Gov. JB Pritzker said most of the state’s other regions are on track to move to tier two in coming days. He said he’ll announce that when areas move to tier one, limited indoor dining will be allowed.
Test positivity rates, hospitalizations and ICU bed availability will dictate when regions can move to a different tier and eventually to phase four of the governor’s “restore Illinois” plan.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the southern Illinois region is the first in the state to be able to move to the lower level of mitigation and should serve as motivation for other regions.
She cautioned, however, that moving back through tiers does not mean abandoning a mask or attending large events and gatherings.