Pritzker’s COVID-19 restrictions may return to parts of Illinois
COVID-19 cases are again on the rise. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker may again impose restrictions on parts of the state.
As some states drop COVID-19 mask mandates and move forward with reopening efforts, Chicago collar counties and west-central Illinois may tighten restrictions and mitigation policies, with bars and restaurants again under threat.
Illinois faces the potential for increased Tier 1 restrictions in Will County, Kankakee County, Kane County, DuPage County, Lake County, McHenry County and the central Illinois area that includes Bloomington, Peoria and counties west to Iowa. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s metrics call for more restrictions when COVID-19 tests and hospital capacities hit certain benchmarks.
According to the IDPH’s resurgence plan website, a region can return to Tier 1 in the COVID-19 mitigation plan if it: records a positivity rate of 8% or greater for three consecutive days; or records increasing positivity rates over seven of the 10 preceding days and either see increases in hospitalizations over seven of the 10 preceding days or ICU bed availability lower than 20% for three consecutive days.
Tier 1 provisions require bars and restaurants to close at 11 p.m. and reduce indoor dining capacity to 25% with a maximum of four persons per party.
Indoor and outdoor events would also be prohibited at capacities of greater than 25%.
The specifics for the regions under threat are as follows:
Region 2: In west-central Illinois, the positivity rate is 7.3%, increasing seven of the preceding 10 days. The region’s ICU bed availability has been below 20% for six consecutive days, and hospitalizations have increased each of the past 10 days.
Region 7: In Will and Kankakee counties, the positivity rate is 6.1%, increasing eight of the preceding 10 days. Hospitalizations have also increased eight of the past 10 days.
Region 8: In Kane and DuPage counties, the positivity rate is 7.4%, increasing seven of the preceding 10 days. Hospitalizations have increased for the past 10 consecutive days.
Region 9: In McHenry and Lake counties, the positivity rate is 4.7%, increasing eight of the preceding 10 days. Hospitalizations have increased for eight of the past 10 consecutive days.
Illinois unemployment rate at 7.1% was nearly double some neighboring states and highest in the Midwest. It was also 10th highest in the nation. Yet the bright spot was 13,700 jobs returning to the leisure and hospitality sector from mid-February through mid-March.
Reimposing COVID-19 restrictions on those recovering businesses is not the only threat they face. Pritzker is also pursuing nine new taxes worth nearly $1 billion, including ones that would hurt job creation efforts. Plus he is rumored to be pursuing the cancellation of a pandemic recovery tax credit for small businesses that could take from $500 million to $1 billion more from them as they struggle to recover.