CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing Region 6 is returning to Phase 4 of the state Restore Illinois plan.
Region 6 includes the counties of Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, Vermilion.
“I am excited that 10 out of our 11 regions have moved out of Tier 3 mitigations,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “However, this does not mean we can let our guard down. We must continue to practice actions to protect ourselves from the virus – wear our masks, avoid large gatherings, and get the vaccine when it is our turn.
“This is particularly critical as new variants circulate, which early studies show spread much more rapidly. We are headed in the right direction once again, so let’s stay the course.”
IDPH says it will still closely monitor test positivity rates, intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability, and the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19. Should data show regions trending in the wrong direction, based on the established mitigation metrics, regions could once again find themselves in a higher tier with increase measures.
The press release says the following qualifications must be met to move from Tier 1 to Phase 4:
- Test positivity rate less than or equal to 8% and below 12% for three consecutive days
- Staffed intensive care unit bed availability less than or equal to 20% for three consecutive days
- No sustained increase in COVID-19 patients in hospital for seven days in a 10 day period.
The release says that in Phase 4, there is a continued decline in the rate of infection. It adds hospitals have capacity and can quickly adapt to a surge of new cases in their communities. Additionally, schools and child care programs can reopen with social distancing policies in place.
Gatherings of 50 people or less are permitted, IDPH says, and restaurants can open with limited capacity and following strict public health measures.
Additional details on Phase 4 guidelines are as follows:
- All employees who can work from home should continue to do so
- Continue to wear face covering that covers nose and mouth, maintain social distance of 6 ft., and frequently wash hands
- Continue employee health screenings upon entry into the workplace and mid-shift screenings for employees with shifts >5 hours (virtual screening permitted)
- Follow guidelines on capacity limits and group sizes (to be continually reassessed throughout Phase 4)
- Capacity limit of no more than 50% of sound stage/location occupancy
- Crowd scenes should be limited to 50 people or fewer
- All individuals should maintain 6 ft. of social distancing unless job duty cannot be performed without proximity (e.g. actors performing, hair, make-up, costumes)
- One-time nasal swab for RT-PCR testing of all cast and crew should be obtained within 48 to 72 hours prior to the start of work on set or location
- Craft services and catering should follow Restaurant and Bar guidelines
- Live audiences permitted in line with Theatre/Performing Arts guidelines
HEALTH AND FITNESS
- Capacity limit of no more than 50% occupancy
- Group fitness classes of up to 50 people with at least 6 ft. social distancing between individuals permitted; multiple groups permitted given facilities have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups
- Workout stations and equipment should be 6 ft. apart without barriers or 3 ft. apart with impermeable barriers in between
- For open gym spaces, have 1 employee per every 4,000 sq. ft. to monitor social distancing and sanitize equipment between use
- Sanitize equipment before and after each individual use and sanitize locker rooms and showers at least every hour
- Keep ancillary accommodations (e.g., saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms) closed, though childcare areas are permitted to reopen in line with DHFS childcare guidelines
- Capacity limit of no more than 25% occupancy
- Guided tours should be limited to 50 or fewer people per group
- Audio tours are permitted, though equipment should be disinfected before and after individual use
- Museums should have plan to limit congregation via advance ticket sales and timed ticketing• Concessions permitted with restrictions
- Reopening select indoor recreation facilities (e.g., bowling alleys, skating rinks); indoor playgrounds and trampoline parks should remain closed
- Indoor recreation to operate at lesser of 50 customers or 50% of facility capacity
- Outdoor recreation allowing group sizes of up to 50, and permitting multiple groups given facilities have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups
- Activity stations should be spaced at least 6 ft. apart or limited in number to ensure social distancing
- Shared equipment should be disinfected before and after each use
- Clubhouses and other communal gathering places allowed to reopen
- Concessions permitted with restrictions
- Employees must receive COVID training before returning to work
- All employers should have a wellness screening program. Employers should conduct in-person COVID-19 screening of employees upon entry and a mid-shift screening if employee shift is greater than 5 hours
- Stagger and space shifts, and designate shift entrances and exits (when possible) to minimize interactions of employees across unique shift groupings
- Workstations should be disinfected between every shift and in between employee handoffs
- In-person meetings of up to 50 people with social distancing permitted
MEETINGS AND SOCIAL EVENTS
- Limit to the lesser of 50 people or 50% of room capacity
- Multiple groups may meet in the same facility if they are socially distanced and in separate rooms
- Groups should be static for duration of meeting or event. If event includes multiple sessions, participants should remain in one room, and speakers/ presenters should rotate between rooms or be digitally displayed (e.g. projected, livestreamed) in multiple rooms
- Dance floors should remain closed
- Food service should follow Restaurant and Bar guidelines