Some regions could get indoor dining back within weeks

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Many of you have been asking the big question: When will indoor dining return? People in Illinois’ region six could be able to eat inside a restaurant in two weeks, but a lot goes into that decision.

We’ve told you before about how our state is divided into regions. Region six extends north to Watseka and south to Olney; west to Decatur and east to Danville.

One of the big factors playing a role in when things open back up is positivity rate, but that’s not everything. Health officials say they want to wait about two weeks after major holidays to see how it affects the positivity rate and hospitalizations. The expected them to increase after Thanksgiving, but luckily that didn’t happen.

Region six has stayed below the 12 percent threshold for 27 days, but that doesn’t mean central Illinois won’t see an increase for Christmas and New Years. Health officials want to make sure they don’t make the call to reopen too early.

“The way the state is putting it to us right now is that they don’t want to be in a position of yo-yo back and forth, so you open it up for a few days and a few weeks and then you see the numbers going back up and then now you’re again, you know, asking them to be put back in mitigation,” explained C-U Public Health District Epidemeologist Awais Vaid.

State public health leaders will be making the final call in terms of what regions will be able to do.
That being said, we’ve already seen areas make that call on their own. For example, Sangamon County in region three rolled back the tier three rules this past weekend.

Public health officials also say hospitals can fill up very quickly. They add that a lot of people put off making appointments or dealing with health issues until after the holidays, so there’s a risk of a surge in that way as well.

The threshold for re-opening is a 12 percent positivity rate. Champaign County is well below that, which puts it in a good place once those two weeks have passed and state health officials give the go-ahead.

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