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Pritzker says bars, restaurants may partially reopen under modified phase three of plan

Pritzker says bars, restaurants may partially reopen under modified phase three of plan

Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday that bars and restaurants may partially reopen during a modified phase three of his five-phase reopening plan.

Under phase three, which all four regions of the state are on track to reach by May 29, bars and restaurants could start providing outdoor services, as long as tables are kept six feet apart and other safety precautions are taken.

Pritzker urged local mayors to work with businesses on ways to expand outdoor seating options.

“The experts believe that these services can open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities and give our hospitality industry a much-needed boost as they work to keep their businesses on their feet during this terrible crisis,” he said.

Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia said it was a step in the right direction to help businesses that are struggling to stay afloat since the pandemic began.

“I am pleased to say that Gov. Pritzker and his team are listening,” Toia said. “Today’s announcement provides a glimmer of light at the end of this very dark tunnel.”

Phase three will also allow up to 10 people at social gatherings, which includes outdoor activities such as boating and camping. Indoor and outdoor tennis facilities may also reopen and up to four people may golf together.

Health clubs, gyms and fitness studios will be able to provide one-on-one personal training in indoor facilities and outdoor fitness classes of up to 10 people.

All state parks will also reopen.

State officials reported 147 more COVID-19 related deaths on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total death count to 4,525. An additional 2,388 total cases were reported, bringing the state’s total to 100,418 in 100 counties.

An additional 21,029 tests have been processed There have now been 642,713 completed tests.

Officials also said Wednesday there continue to be positive trends in the COVID-19 metrics. Pritzker said the positivity rate for tests over the past seven days is just over 10 percent.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the number of Illinoisans hospitalized with COVID-19 is under 4,000 for the first time since that data was first publicly reported on April 12. As of Wednesday morning, 3,914 people were hospitalized with the virus.

A total of 1,005 COVID patients were in intensive care, while 554 patients were on ventilators as of Wednesday morning. Both numbers, Ezike said, are the lowest they’ve been in over five weeks.

Pritzker also told reporters he would not support a 40 percent cut in the House’s budget framework for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. The $14.5 million program provides free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests to eligible women.

While he acknowledged that tough budget cuts lie ahead due to the revenue shortfall caused by the pandemic, he said they need to make sure funds are available to protect Illinoisans who fall through the cracks.


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