CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)–In a press conference on Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced some Regions in Illinois (1,2 and 5) will move down to Tier 2 guidelines, and may reopen for indoor dining for bars and restaurants at a limited capacity.
Regions 3 and 6 in Central Illinois remain in Tier 3 as of Friday, and will have to wait a little bit longer.
Public health officials in Region 6 said they felt optimistic after a recent drop in its positivity rate, but they’re also reminding people regardless of what happens in the near future to keep following state guidelines.
“We are very close to reaching that 6.5%,” he said.
The last time restaurants were open for indoor dining in the region was back in November. Once they reopen, they will likely be limited to 25% capacity. Many restaurants in the county have long awaited the day Gov. Pritzker lifts the restrictions. One restaurant general manager, Nathan Escue, said they’ve already started making plans to readjust.
“That is huge to get to that point,” Escue said. “We’re eager to get to Tier 1 and open our indoors, and have guests come back in. We want to do this safely and right, as many restaurants are.”
Still, it will be some time before those changes take place. Vaid warned that even though a return to normal is getting closer, that scenario is dependent on following guidelines as thoroughly as possible.
“We know that we’re at that last mile,” Vaid said. “We know we’re tired, but to get past that finish line we have to put forth the additional effort. And that’s what we’re asking people to do.”
Vaid said if people in the Region continue to follow state guidelines for the next few weeks, Region 6 can reach a point where they meet the requirements to move to Tier 1, and reopen indoor dining.