Tuesday, 19 January 2021 18:28

Regions, Phases and Tiers Sow Confusion, Frustration Over Continued Illinois COVID-19 Restrictions

Written by Greg Bishop, The Center Square
Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference in Chicago on Dec. 14. Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference in Chicago on Dec. 14. Brett Rowland|The Center Square


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Under Gov. J.B. Pritzker's COVID-19 rules, the state's 11 regions were under four different classes of mitigations on Jan. 18, leading to some confusion among lawmakers and local officials.

As of that afternoon, Pritzker's office said Regions 3 and 5 of the state are in Phase 4 without any tiered mitigations. That allows limited indoor dining at 50% capacity, larger group sizes and other relaxed restrictions.


Region 1, 2 and 6 are in Phase 4 Tier 1 mitigation, which allows some indoor dining, but has other restrictions.


“Establishments offering indoor service must serve food,” the governor’s mitigations for Phase 4 Tier 1 says. “No dancing or standing indoors. Reservations required for each party.”


Gaming and casinos are allowed, as are cultural institutions like museums. Meetings are limited to 25 guests and there are no party buses allowed in Tier 1.


Regions 8, 9, 10 and 11 are under Tier 2 mitigations that don’t allow for indoor dining, but allow gambling and casinos. Gatherings are limited to ten people.


Regions 4 and 7 are in Tier 3 mitigation. Tier 3 mitigations are no indoor service, no gaming, no gatherings beyond the household.


Information about the regions and the tiered mitigation can be found at the Illinois Department of Public Health's website. 


In Rockford, which is now in Phase 4 Tier 1 with indoor dining allowed, state Rep. Joe Sosnowski said some restaurants have been defying the prohibition for months. He said the COVID numbers have gone up and then down and there’s no science behind continued prohibition. Sosnowski said he hears more frustration from his Democratic colleagues.


“They're seeing family-owned businesses shutter up permanently, unemployment continues to stay high for no reason,” said Sosnowski, R-Rockford.


State Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, said restaurants are ready to do it right, but...

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