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Illinois To Enter 'Bridge Phase' Of Reopening Plan On Friday, Full Reopening Possible By June 11

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Gov. JB Prtizker confirmed Illinois will move to the so-called "Bridge Phase" of its reopening plan on Friday, allowing for a further loosening of the state's coronavirus restrictions, the final step before a full reopening as soon as next month.

"Illinoisans have worked so hard over the past year and a half to keep their families and neighbors safe, and reaching Bridge Phase means that we're closer than ever to a return to normalcy," Pritzker said in a statement Thursday morning. "To keep up this progress, I urge every eligible Illinoisan – now including 12 to 15-year-olds – to get vaccinated as soon as possible."

The Bridge Phase will allow for greater capacity limits at businesses, museums, zoos, and spectator events. People with proof they have been fully vaccinated, or with a negative COVID-19 test one to three days before an event or public gathering will not count against capacity limits.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office said, in addition to exempting fully vaccinated people from capacity limits, the move to the Bridge Phase in Chicago means restaurants and bars can seat groups of 10 people or more if everyone in the group is fully vaccinated.

While seating capacity at restaurants and bars will remain at 50%, capacity for standing areas will increase from 25% to 30% for indoor standing areas and 50% for outdoor standing areas.

Most other businesses -- including gyms, fitness centers, offices, salons, barber shops, retail stores, museums, film production,  -- will increase from 50% to 60% of normal capacity. Amusement parks and sports stadiums will see capacity limits increase from 25% of normal to 60% of normal.

Flea markets and farmers markets will be able to increase capacity from 25% of normal or 15 people per 1,000 square feet to 15 people per 1,000 square feet indoors and 30 people per 1,000 square feet outdoors.

Full details on the Bridge Phase are available on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

Pritzker said, unless there are significant increases in COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations in the next four weeks, the state could fully reopen, without any capacity limits, by June 11.

Even after reaching full reopening under Phase 5, the governor has said mask requirements will remain in place until the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends lifting mask mandates.

More than 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered statewide so far, and the Pfizer vaccine is now available to children ages 12 to 15.


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