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Coronavirus In Illinois: 2,304 New Cases, 47 More Deaths; Suburban Cook County Moves To Phase 4, But Won't Expand Indoor Dining Capacity

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Suburban Cook County became the latest region of Illinois to move to Phase 4 of the state's reopening plan, but county officials are taking a gradual approach to easing restrictions on restaurants and bars, much as Chicago did earlier this week.

Although state rules under Phase 4 allow bars and restaurants to seat up to 10 people per table indoors, suburban Cook County will limit parties to 6 people per table. Overall capacity for indoor service will remain at 25 people per room or 25% of room capacity, whichever is less. Tables must be spaced at least 6 feet apart.

The county also will require bars to make food available to customers in order to offer indoor service. Staff must be masked at al times, and customers must be masked whenever they're not eating or drinking.

Customers waiting for tables must wait outdoors while maintaining social distancing.

Retail stores and personal care services such as barber shops and salons will be allowed to operate at 40% of normal capacity. Grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

Indoor events such as weddings and potlucks will be limited to 25% of room capacity or 25 people per room, whichever is less. If serving food, events must follow indoor dining rules.

Parks, flea markets, sports stadiums, and other outdoor attractions will be limited to 40% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less; while indoor spaces such as fieldhouses will be limited to 40% capacity or 50 people per space, whichever is less.

Indoor recreation centers such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, and arcades will be limited to 40% capacity or 50 people per room, whichever is less.

Museums remain limited to 25% capacity, with guided tours limited to 50 people or fewer per group.

Movie theaters and other performance venues are limited to 40% capacity or 50 people per room, whichever is less for indoor spaces; or 40% capacity or a maximum of 100 people for outdoor spaces.

Gyms and fitness clubs can operate at a maximum of 40% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people in common areas such as check-in areas. Group classes are limited to a maximum of 15 people indoors or 50 people outdoors. While locker rooms and showers can remain open with strict and frequent cleaning measures in place, saunas and steam rooms must remain closed.

All of Illinois had been under tighter COVID-19 restrictions for months during the fall surge of the pandemic, as IDPH sought to quell the spread of the virus.

The state's virus infection rate has been falling steadily since its fall peak in mid-November, allowing the state to begin loosening restrictions on a regional basis earlier this month.

On Monday, IDPH reported 2,304 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 statewide, as well as 47 more deaths.

Since the start of the pandemic, the state has reported a total of 1,130,917 cases, including 19,306 deaths.

The state's 7-day average case positivity rate has been at 3.9% for the past three days, the lowest it's been since Oct. 9. The state's average infection rate was more than double that a month ago.

As of Monday night, 2,447 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 533 in the ICU and 265 patients on ventilators. While COVID-19 hospitalizations are up slightly from Sunday night, they're still well below the fall peak of 6,175 in mid-November.

Meantime, Illinois reached a new milestone in its vaccination program, with more than 1 million doses administered so far. IDPH said a total of 1,028,969 doses have been administered as of Monday night, and Illinois is averaging 44,139 doses administered per day over the past week.

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