Coronavirus: Will Illinois shut down again?


Published: July 24, 2020 UPDATED:
By Andy Boyle and Caroline Hurley, Chicago Sun-Times

On July 15, Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled a new plan to slow the continued spread of COVID-19 in Illinois, splitting up the state into 11 regions, instead of the four regions outlined in his original Restore Illinois plan.

The new guidelines and regional breakdown aim to take a more granular approach in case of a coronavirus resurgence, targeting smaller areas than the original plan did, and separating Chicago into its own region.

The plan outlines three tiers of actions that officials can take to slow the spread of the virus. If a region surpasses certain thresholds for metrics, including percentage of people testing positive, hospital capacity, and rising hospital admissions, then officials will choose to tighten restrictions from the “menu” of options outlined in the new tiered system.

Municipalities can set their own restrictions, so long as they are not any less stringent than what the governor sets.

Detailed information on each tier is presented below, along with data to show how close each of the 11 regions are to implementing additional coronavirus restrictions. Data is provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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Where is each region?

The 11 regions are based on Illinois' existing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions, with the exception that Chicago has been separated from its surrounding suburbs into its own region. For counties that fall into more than one EMS region, these new regions follow county lines.


Where is each region?

The 11 regions are based on Illinois' existing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions, with the exception that Chicago has been separated from its surrounding suburbs into its own region. For counties that fall into more than one EMS region, these new regions follow county lines.



What are the tiers?

Use the buttons below to explore each tier of the guidelines for potentially adding more restrictions to slow the resurgence of COVID-19 in Illinois.


Businesses will need to reduce indoor capacity, as well as other spaces where people gather in close proximity. Read more

Bars and restaurants: Reduce indoor dining capacity and suspend indoor bar service
Hospitals: Reduce elective surgeries and procedures; limit visitations at hospitals; implement twice daily bed-reporting
Meetings, social events and religious gatherings: Additional limits on gatherings and room capacity
Offices: Institute remote work for high risk individuals; continued emphasis on telework for as many workers as possible
Organized group recreational activities & gyms: Reduce indoor capacity. Note: While this includes fitness centers, sports, etc., this list is not exhaustive and other industries may be added if indicated by the data
Retail: Reduce in-person capacity. Note: This list is not exhaustive and other industries may be added if indicated by the data
Salons and personal care: Institute temporary location shutdown tied to outbreak
Read less

Many businesses will suspend indoor activities, and there will be greater limits on gatherings. Read more

Bars and restaurants: Suspend indoor dining and bar service
Hospitals: Suspend elective surgeries and procedures; implement surge capacity; assess need to open alternate care facility
Meetings, social events and religious gatherings: Greater limits on gatherings and room capacity
Offices: Reduce office capacity with recommendations to resume remote work where possible
Organized group recreational activities & gyms: Suspend organized indoor recreational activities. Note: This list is not exhaustive and other industries may be added if indicated by the data
Retail: Suspend in-person non-essential retail; online and curbside pick-up available for all. Note: This list is not exhaustive and other industries may be added if indicated by the data
Salons and personal care: Institute temporary location shutdown tied to outbreak with possible broader mitigations
Read less

Non-essential retail and businesses will be suspended, along with organized recreational activities, and restaurants will have takeout only. Read more

Bars and restaurants: Suspend in-person dining; takeout only
Hospitals: Open alternate care facility
Meetings, social events and religious gatherings: Strictest limit to gatherings and room capacity
Offices: Institute remote work for all non-essential workers
Organized group recreational activities & gyms: Suspend organized indoor and outdoor recreational activities. Note: This list is not exhaustive and other industries may be added if indicated by the data
Retail: Suspend all non-essential retail; only essential retail open, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. Note: This list is not exhaustive and other industries may be added if indicated by the data
Salons and personal care: Suspend salon and personal care operations
Read less



What could cause a region to become more restrictive?

The new plan lays out specific health metrics to indicate when a region requires additional restrictions. These metrics are slightly different from the metrics used to determine moving between Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the original Restore Illinois plan.

A region will trigger new restrictions from the options outlined in tiers 1, 2 and 3 if:

  • The 7-day rolling average positivity rate surpasses 8% for three consecutive days.

OR if:

  • The 7-day rolling average positivity rate increases for seven out of the past 10 days.
  • AND one of the following three data points are met:

  • The number of hospital admissions for COVID-like illness increases for seven out of the past 10 days.
  • The percentage of medical surge hospital beds falls below 20%.
  • The percentage of ICU hospital beds falls below 20%.


Read more Sun-Times coronavirus coverage