On July 15, 2020, Governor Pritzker announced a new mitigation plan that modifies the existing “Restore Illinois” plan aimed at preventing another COVID-19 surge in Illinois.
You will recall that the first iteration of the “Restore Illinois” plan divided the state into four regions, envisioning a progression through five stages of reopening, each with fewer restrictions on lives and business as the virus came under control. But, under the new plan, Illinois is now separated into 11 smaller regions, with the City of Chicago occupying its own region, with the rest of Cook County County in its own region as well. All of Illinois is currently in Phase 4 of the original “Restore Illinois” plan, and the modified plan does not require any region to make any immediate changes.
Under the original plan, if one region saw an increase in COVID-19 cases, the entire region, sometimes comprising dozens of counties, could be bumped back to a more restrictive phase. This original approach prompted criticism about lumping some downstate counties with lower case counts together with more densely populated areas seeing higher infection rates, and subjecting both regions to the same restrictions in a one-size-fits-all approach. In response, the modified plan adopts “a more granular approach” with a menu of restrictions to enable the state to act in a more decisive, targeted way in addressing COVID-19 hotspots without reacting more broadly than circumstances require by imposing blanket restrictions across large geographic areas or moving entire regions back to an earlier phase.
Although Illinois has among the lowest positivity-case-rates and highest testing tallies in the country, the Governor announced the possibility of taking certain mitigation measures, including moving a region back to an earlier phase of the reopening plan if cases surge, which could involve renewed restrictions on businesses and social interactions. The Governor’s new plan lists several factors that could move a region back to an earlier phase, namely if a region has a sustained increase in its seven-day rolling average positive test rate, coupled with either an increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illnesses, or a specific reduction in hospital capacity. A region could also be bumped back if it sees three consecutive days of its testing positivity case rate of 8% or more. It is important to note that altough local governments are allowed to create their own locally-tailored reopening plans, these plans cannot be less restrictive than the State’s plan.
Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink