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Limited Indoor Dining Resumes In Will And Kankakee Counties; Chicago Hoping To Follow Suit Next Week

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Will and Kankakee counties became the latest part of the state to allow for indoor service at restaurants and bars, after the state loosened COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday.

The two counties which make up Region 7 of Illinois moved from Tier 3 to Tier 1 of the state's regional virus mitigation plan. Under the new rules for Region 7, indoor dining and bar service will be allowed with a capacity limit of the lesser of 25 people or 25% of normal capacity per room, and no more than four people per table.

Bars and restaurants also must be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., and reservations are limited to two hours.

In addition, museums can reopen with a limit of 25% capacity, with a limit of 50 people for guided tours, and admittance only via advance ticket sales. Masks and social distancing also are required inside.

Gyms and fitness centers also can reopen at 50% capacity, with group classes of up to 50 people. Masks and social distancing also are required inside.

Casinos may reopen at 50% capacity. Meetings, events, and other social gatherings are limited to 25 guests or 25% overall capacity, whichever is less. Masks and social distancing also are required inside.

Youth and adult recreational sports are allowed to resume play for low- and moderate-risk categories. For a full listing of the state's sports guidelines, click here.

To qualify for Tier 1 mitigations, a region must have a 7-day average test positivity rate below 8% for three days in a row, have at least 20% of its hospital beds and intensive care unit beds available for three consecutive days, and have no sustained increase in COVID hospitalizations for 7 of the past 10 days.

Region 7 joins two other parts of the state -- Region 1 (Northwest Illinois) and Region 2 (North-Central Illinois) -- in moving to Tier 1 mitigations.

Three other regions -- Region 3 (West-Central Illinois), Region 5 (Southern Illinois), and Region 6 (East-Central Illinois) have moved all the way back to Phase 4 of the state's reopening plan. Region 6 moved to Phase 4 on Thursday.

Under Phase 4, the restrictions on indoor dining are eased even further, with up to 10 people per table, and the state's limits on when bars and restaurants may be open are lifted, although those businesses are still subject to local rules regarding hours of operation.

Most of the Chicago area -- including the city of Chicago (Region 11), the Cook County suburbs (Region 10), Lake and McHenry counties (Region 9), and DuPage and Kane counties (Region 8) remain in Tier 2 mitigations, one step away from limited indoor dining.

However, Tier 2 allows for gyms and fitness centers to resume group fitness classes, for the return of lower-risk youth and recreational sports, and for the reopening of museums, theaters, and other cultural institutions at 25% capacity. Casinos also are allowed to reopen at 25% capacity under Tier 2.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Thursday she hopes the city will be able to move from Tier 2 to Tier 1 and resume indoor dining by next week.

Arwady said the city already meets the hospitalization metrics to enter Tier 1, but has not yet moved its test positivity rate below 8% for three days in a row. She said the city's positivity rate has been at 8% for the past couple days, so if it can move below 8% soon, the city could enter Tier 1 by next week if the rate continues to drop.

"As always, we continue to follow the metrics," Arwady said. "The way things are going I think it may be able to happen within a week."

Region 4 (Metro East) is the only part of the state still under Tier 3 mitigations, the state's most restrictive COVID-19 rules, but the Illinois Department of Public Health said that part of the state is on track to move to Tier 2 on Friday.

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