Pritzker releases safety guidance for Phase 4 with reopening of indoor restaurant services, gyms, museums

Notable changes for Phase 4 include allowing gatherings of 50 people or less — and reopening of indoor restaurant services to groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced 6 feetapart.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker during a COVID-19 briefing.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration Monday released safety guidance for the state’s next phase of reopening, which allows indoor restaurant services, gyms and museums to open with capacity limits beginning Friday.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration Monday released safety guidance for the state’s next phase of reopening, which allows indoor restaurant services, gyms and museums to open with capacity limits beginning Friday.

Notable changes for Phase 4 include allowing gatherings of 50 people or less — and reopening of indoor restaurant services to groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced 6-feet-apart.

Indoor gyms can reopen at 50% capacity, with face coverings and social distancing required and group fitness classes capped at 50 people, according to the guidelines from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Generally, businesses are also encouraged to continue to conduct regular cleanings, to screen employees for temperatures upon entry and to allow employees who can continue working from home to do so.

Pritzker’s office said about 400,000 Illinoisans will get back to work in Phase 4.

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Pritzker in early May released his five-part reopening plan called “Restore Illinois,” which prompted some criticism over its separation of the state into four regions. The seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate, as well as hospital metrics, were used as a tool for 28 days to determine whether the state could move to the next phase.

The ultimate phase, Phase 5, would mean a full reopening of the economy, but it includes a giant caveat: It would begin “with a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases.” The final phase allows for conventions, festivals and large events to begin again.

Currently, the state’s seven-day positivity rate statewide is just 2.5%. But Illinois has lost 6,647 people since the pandemic began.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday released safety guidance for Chicago’s indoor restaurants last week. Lightfoot, in a news release, said restaurants, bars, breweries and other eating and drinking establishments would open for indoor service Friday, “to align with the state’s plan to move to Phase 4 on the same day.” That was five days earlier than city officials previously planned. Under the city plan, the restaurants will be allowed to open only at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people per room or floor.

For all other indoor restaurants in Illinois, dining can reopen with groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced 6-feet apart in seated areas and with standing areas at no more than 25% of capacity.

The expansion to gatherings of 50 people or less also extends to meetings, events and funerals.

Venues and meetings can resume with 50 people or under or 50% of overall room capacity, according to the new state guidelines. Bowling alleys, skating rinks and clubhouses can also reopen to the same capacity limit.

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Museums can reopen with no more than 25% occupancy with interactive exhibits closed and guided tours limited to to 50 people or fewer. Zoos can also reopen with the same restrictions as museums.

Movie theaters, indoor seated theaters and performing arts centers can reopen with up to 50 guests or 50% of overall theater or performance space capacity. Outdoor capacity is limited to 20% of the theater space capacity.

Phase 4 also allows for outdoor sports to resume with no more than 20% of seating capacity, and concessions allowed with restrictions. Film production can also restart with no more than 50% of sound stage or filming location capacity. Crowd scenes must be limited to 50 people or fewer.

The state has revised some earlier guidelines for youth and recreational sports, with those able to operate at 50% of facility capacity, 20% seating capacity for spectators and group sizes up to 50 with multiple groups permitted during practice and competitive games.

Water-based activities at day camps are also allowed under the safety guidance, with no more than 50% of facility capacity with group size of no more than 15 people in a group.

Retail, offices, salons, barbershops and nail salons, as well as manufacturing and other industries that were allowed to reopen in Phase 3 of Pritzker’s plan will continue to operate at a reduced capacity, the governor’s office said.

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