Pritzker to Give COVID Update, Phased-In Reopening Plans Anticipated

By Jeremy Coumbes on March 18, 2021 at 9:08am

Governor J.B. Pritzker is scheduled to give a COVID-19 update this morning. He has been expected to unveil a phased-in reopening of the state sometime this week.

The Governor’s Office and the Illinois Department of Public Health are working on a staged approach that will more gradually move the state from current coronavirus restrictions to a full reopening.

Currently, Phase 5 of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan calls for “all sectors of the economy reopen” and “conventions, festivals, and large events can take place.” Pritzker said yesterday, they are considering several factors in the new plans.

We got together with leaders of various industries in Illinois to make sure we are covering all of the stakeholders that would be interested from a business perspective, and then of course we brought our doctors from IDPH, and others, into meetings to try to figure out how do we phase in as things get better in the state.

Also, how do we take into account that there are variants out there that are faster moving in their transmission to people, and therefore what we don’t want to see is a surge of cases.”

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said earlier this week, they have been working on a plan of how to get the state to Phase 5, and the move will likely look less like flipping a switch and more like turning a dial gradually.

Ezike said the key benchmarks that will lead to full reopening include having a majority of seniors vaccinated, as well as consideration of overall vaccinations, and seeing the number of COVID-19 related deaths continue to go down.

Pritzker is scheduled to give his update at 11:30 am Thursday.