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Illinois religious services get guidance, not rules, for Phase 3

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Chicago (HOI) -- Churches in Illinois have a long list of guidelines the state is asking them to follow, but Gov. JB Pritzker (D, IL) said Thursday they are just suggestions.

The guidance, spelled out here on the IDPH website, say services should adhere to social distancing guidelines and should restrict indoor occupancy to 10 or fewer.

But, Gov. Pritzker says there will not be any enforcement.

"The safest options remain remote and drive-in services," he said Thursday at his news conference. "But, for those that want to conduct in-person activities, IDPH is offering best practices."

This comes as multiple churches have sued the state, alleging that the ban on religious gatherings infringes on their freedoms. The governor did not mention the lawsuits in his remarks, but complimented religious leaders who have sent him plans to re-open with health risks in mind.

Illinois is set to move to Phase 3 of Pritzker's Restore Illinois re-opening plan Friday. Initially, this phase would have forced restaurants to stick to carry-out and delivery, but last week Pritzker said epidemiologists told him outdoor dining could be allowed. Salons and retail stores can also re-open Friday.

Bobby Oler @bobbyoler

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