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Hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents will go back to work in Phase 3, Gov. Pritzker says

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and state officials speak at their daily press conference on May 22, 2020 | Photo: Illinois Information Service.

Gov. Pritzker said all of Illinois is on track to move into the next reopening phase, which will allow hundreds of thousands of residents to go back to work, as over 100 new virus deaths were reported on Friday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said there were 2,758 new coronavirus cases and 110 additional deaths on Friday. The state’s COVID-19 case total is now at 105,444 positive cases and 4,715 deaths.

Laboratories have processed 25,113 tests in the past 24 hours, officials said. The total number of people tested so far in the state is at 697,133.

Pritzker said that all child care providers are being asked to reopen in Phase 3 of Restore Illinois. For the first four weeks, they can serve no more than 10 kids per classroom and after that the limit will increase.

Over 2,500 child care home and 700 centers have provided care during the stay-at-home order. Those child care facilities that have been open during the pandemic will be able to skip the four-week capacity limit and instead expand their capacity, Pritzker said.

On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) said that they processed 72,780 new claims for unemployment benefits during the week ending May 16.

There have now been more than 1,226,000 claims processed from March 1 through May 16. This is 12 times the number of claims processed during the same period last year, IDES said.

The state’s unemployment rate is now 16.4%.

Pritzker announced some changes on Wednesday to his Phase 3 of Restore Illinois plan. All four regions of Illinois are expected to move into Phase 3 on May 29.

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“We are by no means out of the woods, but directionally, things are getting better. And because of these advances, we are able to make some modifications to allow more activity during Phase 3 of our reopening plan Restore Illinois,” Pritzker said.

“Our mission has always been to get people back to work, get students back to school and return to as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing the health and safety of Illinoisans,” he added.

Bars and restaurants will have the option to resume outdoor seating operations, Pritzker said. Tables must be six feet apart and away from sidewalks.

All retail stores can open their doors to in-person shopping with capacity limits.

All state parks will reopen in Phase 3 and indoor and outdoor tennis facilities can reopen with precautions, Pritzker said. Golf courses can allow foursomes out on the same tee times and golf carts will be allowed for one person per cart or one immediate household per cart.

Boating and camping of up to ten people in a group will also be permitted along with driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges and paintball courses being allowed to open.

Gyms, health clubs and fitness studios can provide one-on-one personal training in indoor facilities and outdoors there can be fitness class of up to ten people.

Personal care services like nail salons, tattoo shops, hair salons and spas can open with safety precautions and capacity limits.


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