ILLINOIS — Region 3 of Illinois under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 reopening plan will be joining most of the state with increased restrictions on bars and restaurants.
Several sources confirm the mitigation measures prohibiting bars and restaurants from having indoor service would start Sunday morning at 12:01 a.m. Region 3 includes Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler and Scott counties.
Several sources say Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike got an ear full from lawmakers and mayors on the call Thursday morning. The official announcement has yet to be released.
“[Ezike] admitted today that the only thing they can trace outbreaks to is universities and social gatherings, but restaurants and bars are going to be closed,” said state Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Springfield. “But they can not prove there to be a direct correlation [of outbreaks] to restaurants and bars.”
He was told the data would be released in a week despite his repeated requests for weeks for the information justifying such actions.
“It’s just a theory, the theory might make sense but they’ve been talking about using the science and now they’re not using that and we’re just going by a gut reaction,” he said.
He was critical data wasn’t available to the public but was being used internally by the Pritzker administration.
“I’m very disturbed that they’re saying we’re using science but they won’t show us the science,” Murphy said.
Under the governor’s unilateral plan, a region of the state gets stricter mitigation measures when the region’s COVID-19 positivity rate, the number of positive cases per total tests taken, is above 8 percent for three days. There are eleven regions of the state and most have increased positivity rates above 8 percent.
The first tier of mitigations prohibits indoor service at bars and restaurants and also limits gatherings to 25 or fewer. Masking and other social distancing regulations are also in place. The mitigations do not include schools.
A region can have mitigation measures relaxed if the COVID-19 positivity rate goes below 6.5 percent for three days.
The Center Square – Greg Bishop