Today Governor Pritzker announced that heightened mitigation strategies will take effect in Lake and McHenry Counties (IL Region 9) on Saturday, Oct. 31. During the mitigation period, which will last a minimum of two weeks, restaurants and bars will be closed for indoor seating, and public gatherings (weddings, funerals, etc.) will have reduced capacity limits of 25% or 25 people, whichever is lower. The new measures are being implemented as a result of a recent spike in local cases of COVID-19 and recent increases in hospitalizations in our area.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has a system of metrics in place that trigger heightened mitigations. They are:
- A sustained increase in 7-day rolling average (7 out of 10 days) in the positivity rate, AND one of the following
- Sustained 7-day increase (7 out of 10 days) in hospital admissions for a COVID-19-like illness; or
- Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities (ICU capacity or medical/surgical beds under 20%)
- Three consecutive days averaging greater than or equal to 8% positivity rate (7 day rolling average)
As of today (October 28, 2020), Lake and McHenry Counties, which compose “Region 9” of the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan, posted three consecutive days of a positivity rate greater than 8% (8.1%, 8.4%, 8.4%).
Heightened mitigations will remain in place until the positivity rate is 6.5% or lower for three consecutive days. You can follow the tracking of COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalization numbers for all 11 regions at this link. Again, we are Region 9.
None of us are pleased with these restrictions, and I’m extremely worried about the individuals who work in the restaurant/bar/hospitality industry who will once again find themselves in need of unemployment benefits. I’m also concerned about the economic impact that these restrictions will have on our area, just as we are now beginning to recover. I have joined several of my House and Senate colleagues in asking the Governor to provide detailed metrics that prove that restaurants and bars are locations where COVID-19 is being widely-spread.
In response to the announcement, I issued this media statement:
“COVID-19 is serious and we all need to be careful, but we are now seven full months into this health pandemic and the Governor still refuses to engage with the legislative branch. I believe every business is essential, and that the Governor needs to seek input from legislators before any new decisions are made.
“With positivity rates increasing statewide, I am urging the Governor to call a special session so we can work together to create a plan that allows all businesses to safely remain open. We’re just not seeing metrics that show us that restaurants and bars are primary locations where this virus is spreading. It’s time to reconvene the legislature and revise the mitigation plan so we ensure we are targeting the proper settings where COVID-19 is doing the most damage. We must address the virus in ways that maximize our success while also doing absolutely everything in our power to protect our fragile economy and businesses that provide key jobs in the state.”