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‘Restore Illinois’ Plan: Five-Phase Reopening Approach to Ease Restrictions on Businesses, Gatherings

  • May 7, 2020

After issuing Executive Orders responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including an Order extending Illinois’ stay-at-home mandate through May 30, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has unveiled the “Restore Illinois” plan for reopening the state.

The plan divides the state into four regions (Northeast Illinois, North-Central Illinois, Central Illinois, and Southern Illinois) and sets forth five phases for reopening. The regions may progress through the phases at different times, depending on criteria related to public health in each region. These criteria will be tracked by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and will be made available to the public online. Governor Pritzker announced that the state had entered Phase 2 of the plan on May 1, 2020, and that under the criteria laid out below, the earliest date a region can progress to Phase 3 will be May 29, 2020.

However, each region may also be required to move back to a previous phase based on a recommendation by the IDPH. The IDPH will base such recommendations on the following factors:

  • A sustained rise in the testing positivity rate;
  • A sustained increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness;
  • A reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities; and
  • A significant outbreak in the region that threatens the health of the region.

Additionally, the plan notes that it lays out an initial framework that will likely be updated as research and science develop and the potential for treatments or vaccines is realized.

Phase 1 — Rapid Spread

The plan states that in this phase, COVID-19 is rapidly spreading, and the number of COVID-19-positive patients in the hospital, in ICU beds, and on ventilators is increasing.

Gathering Restrictions: Only essential gatherings, such as religious services, of 10 or fewer are allowed. No non-essential gatherings of any size are permitted.

Travel Restrictions: Non-essential travel is discouraged.

Healthcare Restrictions: Healthcare facilities are only allowed to provide emergency procedures and COVID-19 care.

Outdoor Recreation Restrictions: Walking, hiking, and biking are permitted. State parks are closed.

Business Restrictions

  • Manufacturing Businesses: Only essential manufacturing businesses can operate.
  • Non-Essential Businesses: Employees of non-essential businesses are required to work from home, except for Minimum Basic Operations. Minimum Basic Operations have been defined in previous Executive Orders as: (1) the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions; or (2) the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.
  • Bars and Restaurants: Bars and restaurants are allowed to remain open for delivery, pickup, and drive-through only.
  • Entertainment Businesses: Entertainment businesses are required to remain closed.
  • Personal Care Services and Health Clubs: Personal care services and health clubs are required to remain closed.
  • Retail Businesses: Essential retail businesses are allowed to remain open with strict restrictions. Non-essential retail businesses are closed.

Requirements to Move to Phase 2

“Cases and Capacity” requirements must be met, including:

  • Slowing of new case growth; and
  • Availability of surge capacity in adult medical and surgical beds, ICU beds, and ventilators.

The following testing requirements must also be met:

  • Ability to perform 10,000 tests per day statewide; and
  • Testing available in the region for any symptomatic healthcare workers and first responders.

Governor Pritzker announced that the state has already progressed to Phase 2.

Phase 2 — Flattening

The plan states that in this phase, the rise in the rate of infection is beginning to slow and stabilize. Hospitalizations and ICU bed usage continue to increase but are flattening, and hospital capacity remains stable. The plan notes that every region in the state has experienced some level of flattening as of early May.

Gathering Restrictions: Only essential gatherings, such as religious services, of 10 or fewer are allowed. No non-essential gatherings of any size are permitted.

Face Covering Restrictions: Face coverings must always be worn in public when social distancing is not possible.

Travel Restrictions: Non-essential travel is discouraged.

Healthcare Restrictions: Healthcare facilities are allowed to perform elective procedures once IDPH criteria are met. Emergency and COVID-19 care continue.

Education and Child Care: Remote learning in P-12 schools and institutions of higher education is permitted. Child care for essential workers is allowed in groups of 10 or fewer.

Outdoor Recreation Restrictions: Walking, hiking, and biking are permitted. Golf courses and select state parks are opened, and boating and fishing are permitted. Safety guidance approved by the IDPH must be followed.

Business Restrictions

  • Manufacturing Businesses: Only essential manufacturing businesses can operate.
  • Non-Essential Businesses: Employees of non-essential businesses are required to work from home, except for Minimum Basic Operations.
  • Bars and Restaurants: Bars and restaurants are allowed to remain open for delivery, pickup, and drive-through only.
  • Personal Care Services and Health Clubs: Personal care services and health clubs are required to remain closed.
  • Retail Businesses: Essential retail businesses are allowed to remain open with restrictions. Non-essential retail businesses are allowed to open for delivery and curbside pickup.

Requirements to Move to Phase 3

“Cases and Capacity” requirements must be met, based on data that will be tracked by the state from the time a region enters Phase 2 and onward. These requirements include:

  • No greater than a 20 percent test positivity rate in the region, and the test positivity rate in the region increasing no more than 10 percentage points, over a 14-day period; and
  • No overall increase (i.e., stability or decrease) in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness for 28 days; and
  • Available surge capacity of at least 14 percent of ICU beds, medical and surgical beds, and ventilators.

The region must also make testing available for all patients, healthcare workers, first responders, people with underlying conditions, and residents and staff in congregate living facilities. Additionally, the region must have the capability to begin contact tracing and monitoring diagnosed individuals within 24 hours of the diagnosis.

Phase 3 — Recovery

The plan states that in this phase, the rate of infection among those tested is stable or declining. COVID-19-related hospitalizations remain stable or are decreasing, and ICU capacity remains stable or is increasing.

Gathering Restrictions: Gatherings of 10 people or fewer are allowed, subject to change based on the latest data and guidance.

Face Covering Restrictions: Face coverings must always be worn in public when social distancing is not possible.

Travel Restrictions: Travel should follow IDPH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-approved safety guidance.

Healthcare Restrictions: All healthcare providers are allowed to open with IDPH-approved safety guidance.

Education and Child Care: Remote learning in P-12 schools and institutions of higher education is permitted. Limited child care and summer programs are allowed to open with IDPH-approved safety guidance.

Outdoor Recreation Restrictions: All activities are permitted in groups of 10 or fewer with social distancing. All state parks are open.

Business Restrictions

  • Manufacturing Businesses: Non-essential manufacturing businesses that can safely operate with social distancing can reopen with IDPH-approved safety guidance, which may include sanitization practices.
  • Non-Essential Businesses: Employees of non-essential businesses are allowed to return to work with IDPH-approved safety guidance depending upon risk level, but telework is strongly encouraged wherever possible. Employers are encouraged to provide accommodations for COVID-19-vulnerable employees.
  • Bars and Restaurants: Bars and restaurants are allowed to remain open for delivery, pickup, and drive-through only.
  • Personal Care Services and Health Clubs: Barbershops and salons are allowed to open with IDPH-approved safety guidance. Health and fitness clubs can provide outdoor classes and one-on-one personal training with IDPH-approved safety guidance, including social distancing guidelines and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Retail Businesses: All retail businesses are allowed to open with capacity limits and IDPH-approved safety guidance, including face coverings for employees and patrons.

Requirements to Move to Phase 4

The same “Cases and Capacity” requirements laid out in Phase 2 must be met, based on data that will be tracked by the state from the time a region enters Phase 3 and onward. These requirements include:

  • No greater than a 20 percent test positivity rate in the region, and the test positivity rate in the region increasing no more than 10 percentage points, over an additional 14-day period; and
  • No overall increase (i.e., stability or decrease) in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness for an additional 28 days; and
  • Available surge capacity of at least 14 percent of ICU beds, medical and surgical beds, and ventilators.

The region must also make testing available for all, regardless of symptoms or risk factors. Additionally, the region must begin contact tracing and monitoring within 24 hours of diagnosis for more than 90 percent of the cases in the region.

Phase 4 — Revitalization

The plan states that in this phase, there is a continued decline in the rate of infection in new COVID-19 cases, and hospitals have capacity and can quickly adapt for a surge of new cases in their communities.

Gathering Restrictions: Gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed, subject to change based on the latest data and guidance. During his announcement, Governor Pritzker stated that this number may be subject to change up or down.

Face Covering Restrictions: The plan does not contain any requirement that individuals wear face coverings in public during this phase, but states that face coverings will still be the norm.

Travel Restrictions: Travel should follow IDPH and CDC-approved safety guidance.

Healthcare Restrictions: All healthcare providers are allowed to open without restrictions.

Education and Child Care: P-12 schools, institutions of higher education, summer programs, and child care are allowed to open with IDPH-approved safety guidance, including social distancing policies.

Outdoor Recreation Restrictions: All outdoor recreation is allowed.

Business Restrictions

  • Manufacturing Businesses: All manufacturing businesses are allowed to open with IDPH-approved safety guidance.
  • Non-Essential Businesses: All employees of non-essential businesses are allowed to return to work with IDPH-approved safety guidance. Employers are encouraged to provide accommodations for COVID-19-vulnerable employees.
  • Bars and Restaurants: Bars and restaurants are allowed to open with capacity limits and IDPH-approved safety guidance, including PPE for employees.
  • Personal Care Services and Health Clubs: All barbershops, salons, spas, and health and fitness clubs are allowed to open with capacity limits and IDPH-approved safety guidance.
  • Entertainment Businesses: Cinemas and theaters are allowed to open with capacity limits and IDPH-approved safety guidance.
  • Retail Businesses: All retail businesses are allowed to open with capacity limits and IDPH-approved safety guidance.

Requirements to Move to Phase 5

To move to Phase 5, there must be a vaccine, effective and widely available treatment, or the elimination of new cases over a sustained period of time through herd immunity or other factors.

Phase 5 — Illinois Restored

The plan states that in this phase, testing, tracing, and treatment are widely available throughout the state. There must be a vaccine developed to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, a readily available treatment option that ensures healthcare capacity is no longer a concern, or no new cases over a sustained period.

All sectors of the economy will reopen, with businesses, schools, and recreation resuming normal operations with new safety guidance and procedures, and new health and hygiene practices permanently in place. Large gatherings of all sizes, including conventions and festivals, will also be allowed to take place.

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The COVID-19 situation remains fluid. If you need guidance in handling the complicated issues pertaining to COVID-19, please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney.

 

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