Ever since the say at home order started in mid-March, people have been wondering when Illinois will reopen and return to life before the virus. On Wednesday, May 5, the governor announced the five stage plan to open the state.
With each stage more restrictions are removed and more businesses are allowed to reopen. Stage one is rapid spread of COVID-19. Stage one is what the state was in when the stay at home order was first implemented and has a strict stay at home order with only essential businesses staying open.
In stage two, non-essential businesses may reopen but only for curbside pickup. Illinoisians may go outside but must have a mask and must obey social distancing. The rate of infections must be slowing, moving toward a flattening or a downward trajectory. All regions are experiencing flattening as of now.
Stage three will begin when the infections are in a slow steady decline and manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops, and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. Citizens are still required to wear masks but can have small gatherings of ten people.
In stage four, all gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars may reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools will reopen, and masks are still required to be worn by the public.
Stage five is when life can return to normal and large gatherings are able to be held and all businesses may open, but stage five can only start when there are close to no new cases, medication is available to treat the virus, or a vaccine is released. As of May 5, Illinois is in stage two with a slower infection rate and Pritzker announced the earliest Illinois will enter stage three will be on May 29. It may seem hard to stay indoors now but the more we do it the earlier we can enter new stages and finally get rid of the threat of overwhelming hospitals with COVID-19.