Panio Law LB Aug 1 – Aug 31 2019

Graphic provided by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker's office, showing the five-phase reopening plan.
The five-phase reopening plan developed by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office sets out scenarios for how a state region can move toward economies “fully reopening.” (Provided graphic)

Building on data, science and guidance from public health experts, and after consulting with stakeholders across the state, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Restore Illinois, a five-phase plan focused on saving lives and livelihoods, and safely reopening Illinois.

“We have to figure out how to live with COVID-19 until it can be vanquished, and to do so in a way that best supports our residents’ health and our healthcare systems, and saves the most lives,” Pritzker said. 

“Restore Illinois is a public health plan to safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold in our fight against COVID-19. This is also a data-driven plan that operates on a region-by-region basis, a recognition that reality on the ground looks different in different areas of our state.”

The five-phase plan is guided by public health metrics designed to provide a framework for reopening businesses, education and recreational activities in each phase. The plan will be updated as research and science develop, including effective treatments or vaccines.

The five-phase plan is based on regional healthcare availability and recognizes the distinct impact COVID-19 has had on different regions of our state as well as regional variations in hospital capacity. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health traditionally divides its work among a group of 11 Emergency Medical Services Regions. For Restore Illinois, the IDPH has combined those into four health regions — Northeast Illinois, North-Central Illinois, Central Illinois and Southern Illinois.

Map graphic shows the four areas the Illinois Department of Public Health has identified for the Restore Illinois plan.
​​This map shows the four regions identified by the Illinois Department of Public Health in the Restore Illinois plan that may independently move through a five-phase reopening plan. (Provided graphic)

Each health region can independently move through a phased approach, with five steps based on current scenarios:
Phase 1 – Rapid Spread: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines are put in place, and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.

Phase 2 – Flattening: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at a continuously slowing rate, moving toward a flat and even downward trajectory. Non-essential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear face coverings when outside the home, and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.
Phase 3 – Recovery: The rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with safety precautions regulating capacity and other factors. Gatherings of 10 or fewer people are allowed. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 4 – Revitalization: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. Gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed. Restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the IDPH. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
Phase 5 – Illinois Restored: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available, or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Until COVID-19 is defeated, the Restore Illinois plan takes into account the way health metrics indicate is safe to move forward into the next phase, or return to a prior phase. With a vaccine or treatment not yet available, IDPH will be closely monitoring key metrics to immediately identify new growth in cases and hospitalizations, to determine whether a return to a prior phase is needed.

As millions of Illinoisans continue working together by staying at home and following experts’ recommendations, the result has been a lower infection rate, lower hospitalizations, and lower number of fatalities than without these measures. 

As the state’s curve begins to flatten, the risk of spread remains. Modeling and data indicate that a rapid surge of new cases could occur if all mitigation measures are immediately lifted. 

The governor and his administration continue to urge all Illinois residents to follow the state’s stay-at-home order and to follow guidance issued by state and public health experts.

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