ILLINOIS — Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that he was changing his reopening plan to allow bars and restaurants to serve customers in an outdoor setting, expanded golfing options and opening all state parks.
The changes were announced on the first day that lawmakers returned to Springfield.
In his first appearance outside of Chicago in nearly two months, and his first appearance outside of his home in almost two weeks, Pritzker said more things will start opening back up later this month.
Pritzker said by the end of May all areas of the state were on track to enter Phase 3 of his reopening plan. That means more options for bars and restaurants, including allowing outdoor dining with customers six-foot distanced and staff wearing masks and gloves.
“These services can open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities and give our hospitality industry a much-needed boost as they work to keep their businesses on their feet during this terrible crisis,” Pritzker said.
The next phase will also include allowing salons and other personal hygiene.
“For health clubs, gyms and fitness studios, one-on-one personal training in indoor facilities and outdoor fitness classes of up to ten people are allowed,” Pritzker said.
The governor said new guidelines will also allow outdoor gatherings of ten or fewer.
“If you want to go enjoy a picnic in the park or a walk with nine other people, you can,” Pritzker said. “Just remember to wear a mask or face covering when social distancing can’t be maintained.”
Boating and camping of ten or fewer people in a group will also be allowed, as will indoor and outdoor tennis facilities. Then there’s golf, the governor said.
“In Phase 3, courses can allow foursomes out on the same tee times,” Pritzker said. “Carts will also be permitted with only one person per cart, or one immediate household per cart.”
More guidance is forthcoming for outdoor shooting ranges, driving ranges and paintball fields. All state parks and their concessions are also slated to reopen.
Illinois Republican state lawmakers continued their push to have a vote on the governor’s phased-in reopening plan. They say the governor’s plan “wholly lacked input from locally elected officials and experts.”
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce introduced its own reopening plan through Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington. That measure, Senate Bill 3993, would direct the state’s public health agency to establish protocols for safe business operations with guidance on social distancing, face-coverings and other measures.
“Reopening should be safe and equitable for all Illinois communities,” Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said. “Thousands of businesses across Illinois have been operating safely from Day One of the shutdown. Any business that proves they can operate as safely as the ones that have been open this whole time should be allowed to reopen as soon as possible.”
The chamber said its plan also focused on daycare shortages.
“The government is placing an unreasonable expectation on parents and guardians by not allowing care centers to reopen along with places of business,” Maisch said. “It is impossible for anyone deemed ‘non-essential’ to return to a physical location or continue to work from home for an extended time without proper care for their children and dependents.”
The Chamber’s plan also incorporates the legislature into the recovery process “by preventing the governor from extending an initial disaster proclamation without the General Assembly passage of a resolution that approves the extension,” according to a news release from the organization.
The Center Square – Greg Bishop