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Illinois loosens restrictions Friday, easing capacity limits

The state is loosening restrictions on capacity for businesses this Friday and could fully reopen in June if COVID-19 metrics remain consistent or decrease

ILLINOIS, USA — Illinois moved to the final step before a full reopen this Friday as the state's vaccine rollout continues. And barring any major reversals in key COVID-19 statistics, the state could enter Phase 5 — the full reopening phase — as soon as Friday, June 11.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced Thursday the state will officially move to what the health department is calling the "Bridge to Phase 5" on Friday, May 14. The change comes with loosened capacity limits for most venues and events.

“Illinoisans have worked so hard over the past year and a half to keep their families and neighbors safe, and reaching Bridge Phase means that we’re closer than ever to a return to normalcy,” Gov. Pritzker wrote in a news release. “To keep up this progress, I urge every eligible Illinoisan – now including 12- to 15-year-olds – to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

The state will make the move as a result of more than 70% of people over the age of 65 getting vaccinated and no increase in the following COVID-19 metrics:

  • Hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness
  • COVID-19 patients in the hospital 
  • Mortality rate 

ICU bed availability must also remain above 20%.

The state said a 28-day monitoring period must pass in order for the state to move to Phase 5. The other requirements must not increase in the above metrics and at least 50% of residents over the age of 16 must be vaccinated.

According to the health department's dashboard, 36% of people over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated.

Whenever Illinois does move to Phase 5, it will continue to follow the CDC's mask guidance.

The capacity changes from Phase 4 to the Bridge Phase are as follows:

Dining

Seated areas remain the same with patrons seated more than 6 feet apart and parties of 10 or fewer people.

Standing areas increase from 25% capacity to 30% capacity for indoor venues and 50% capacity for outside venues.

Heath and fitness

Gyms will go from 50% capacity to 60% capacity. Class restrictions remain the same with 50 or fewer people in indoor classes and 100 or fewer people for outdoor classes.

Offices, personal care, retail/service counter and film production

Increase from 50% to 60%.

Amusement parks and museums

Increase from 25% to 60%.

Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events

Increase from 15 people per 1,000 square feet to 30 people per 1,000 square feet.

Flea and farmers markets

Indoor flea and farmers markets remain the same at 25% capacity or 15 people per 1,000 square feet. Outdoor markets increase to 30 people per 1,000 square feet.

Meetings, conferences, and conventions 

In Phase 4, venues with capacity of fewer than 200 persons were allowed the lesser of 50 people or 50% capacity and venues with a capacity of 200 or more people could allow the lesser of 250 people or 25% capacity. In the bridge phase, they can allow the lesser of 1,000 people or 60% capacity.

Recreation

Indoor events can go from the lesser of 50 people or 50% capacity to 250 people. Outdoor events can go from the lesser of 110 people or 50% capacity to 500 people.

Social events

Indoor events can go from the lesser of 50 people or 50% capacity to a flat limit of 250 people. Outdoor events can go from the lesser of 100 people or 50% capacity to a flat limit of 500 people.

Ticketed and seated spectator events including theater and performing arts

In Phase 4, venues with a capacity of 200 or less could allow the lesser of 50 people or 25% capacity while venues with a capacity of 200 or more could allow 25%. In the Bridge Phase, all venues can allow 60% capacity.

Zoos

In Phase 4, zoos could allow 25% capacity and fewer than 50 people or 50% capacity at indoor exhibits. In the Bridge Phase, they can allow 60% capacity across the board.

For more information about the changes, visit the health department website here.