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Will I need to wear a mask during the final phase of reopening Illinois?

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CHICAGO (WREX) — On May 5, 2020, the state announced a 5-phase plan to reopen the state during the coronavirus pandemic. Almost exactly one year later, on May 6, 2021, we now know when we are scheduled to reach the fifth and final phase.

On Thursday, Governor JB Pritzker announced the state is moving to the “Bridge Phase” of reopening on May 14 and is scheduled to move to Phase 5 on June 11.

Phase 5 is dubbed “Illinois Restored” in the “Restore Illinois” plan and signals a new normal.

Here’s what we know about the potential move to Phase 5 as of May 6, 2021:

Will masks still be required?

Yes. Governor Pritzker said during a news conference on Thursday that the state has and will continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines for masks.

“It’s very exciting, to me, that we can begin to reopen to a Bridge Phase and then, ultimately, to Phase 5, which is reopening everything, except making sure that we’re still masking so we can protect those who are unvaccinated,” Gov. Pritzker said.

So it’s very possible that come Friday, June 11, masks will still need to be worn in some capacity.

Will businesses be able to operate at full capacity?

Yes. Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place.

The Winnebago County Health Department provided the following statement regarding the move to the “Bridge Phase” as well as Phase 5:

The Bridge from Phase 4 to Phase 5 of Restore Illinois allows for further reopening of Winnebago County such as social events, recreational activities, businesses, entertainment venues, and restaurants. While we are excited and encouraged, it is important for the community to remember that we must continue to take actions to further reduce the transmission of COVID-19 vaccine. This includes masking, maintaining social distancing, handwashing, staying home when sick and vaccinations. Vaccination against COVID-19 has demonstrated a significant impact on COVID-19. We cannot let up on our efforts to vaccinate. Every eligible individual should get vaccinated without delay OR hesitancy. We cannot lose sight of the end game – Phase 5  a full reopening of all things that make our community vibrant!

On Thursday, Illinois announced 1,778 new cases of COVID-19 and an additional 40 deaths over the past 24 hours.

Coronavirus resources

  • Click here for the latest CDC novel coronavirus resources and links.
  • Track the COVID-19 globally using this map tracker here.
  • You can view the latest Illinois COVID-19 numbers here.
  • For mobile testing site locations, click here.
  • You can catch up on the latest Heart of Illinois ABC coronavirus coverage here.
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