Illinois is fully open. Here's what to know as state recovers from COVID restrictions

Zach Roth
State Journal-Register

Illinois' move to Phase 5 — full reopening — happens today. With that comes questions about what's allowed in the stage as the state recovers from COVID-19. Here are answers to questions people have asked regarding the move to normal in Illinois.

What is Phase 5?

  • Phase 5 is the final step in what was established last May as the Restore Illinois plan to return the state to normalcy.
  • With a vaccine now widely available and people taking advantage of that opportunity, cases have now gone down significantly and the state can now resume normal activities.

Earlier:It's official: Illinois will enter Phase 5 of its COVID-19 reopening plan on June 11

What's the catch?

  • There's no catch, but the state's guidelines do indicate that certain health restrictions do remain in place even as the state reopens without capacity restrictions.
  • For instance, people who are still unvaccinated must continue to wear a mask. Masks are still required for all people, vaccinated or not, in places such as health care facilities, congregate settings, and on mass transit, such as buses and trains.

So what does Phase 5 mean for me and for the state?

  • It means that everything can reopen without any capacity restrictions.
  • Restaurants, fitness centers, offices, retail facilities, amusement parks, museums and zoos can return to full capacity. Some stores may still require customers to wear a mask.
  • Spectator events can return to full attendance. For instance, the Bank of Springfield Center and Robin Roberts Stadium can now have full capacity at their events.
  • Conventions, festivals and other large events can also resume with full attendance.
  • Farmers markets and other social events can now resume with full capacity.
  • Illinoisans can now resume normal activities, indoor or outdoor, without having to wear a mask.
  • For those still reluctant to take off the mask, they can still wear one.

More:Drawing a breath: Indian community comes together to address COVID-19 in homeland

Sounds good. Is there any chance that restrictions could return at some point if things go haywire?

  • Yes. The fact that Illinois has done well at vaccinations may preclude this, but the state could return to the bridge phase or Phase 4 if cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise at some point.
  • Illinois is not at herd immunity yet, and the state has not had half of its total population — including children — fully vaccinated (two shots for Pfizer and Moderna, one shot of Johnson & Johnson).

How can I do my part to keep the state open?

  • Get vaccinated, or if you have done so already, help get reluctant friends and family on board with getting the vaccine. Call the Sangamon County Department of Public Health at (217) 326-2606 if you have any questions or to set up a vaccination event.