New Stay at Home Advisory Reflects Worsening COVID-19 Numbers


Courtesy of Charles Rex Arbogast for Associated Press

Daniel Bell ‘22, News Editor

Governor Pritzker has announced a statewide increase in COVID restrictions amid an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases, which took effect on November 20th. The entire state will be considered under “Tier 3” mitigation level, an increase from the previous “Tier 2” designation, which had fewer restrictions. While a full stay-at-home order has not yet been mandated, the governor stressed that more drastic actions may have to be taken if the virus is not brought under control. The new restrictions will last 14 days at least until December 16th, although Prtizker stated he believed it would extend for a longer period of time.

Retail stores can now only operate at 25% capacity, with the exception of pharmacies and grocery stores, which can operate at 50%. Personal services such as barbers or hairstylists must also run at 25% capacity. Any personal service that cannot be performed without a face mask is banned. In-person medical therapy is still allowed to take place, but only when necessary; virtual consultations are strongly recommended. Gyms must be limited to 25% capacity and reserved ahead of time. Indoor fitness classes and locker rooms are both closed. Theatres, museums, and other indoor recreational facilities are all closed. At-home gatherings are recommended to be limited to household members

All restaurants and bars must suspend indoor service and close between 11pm and 6 am. Distanced outdoor dining is still allowed. While there are no new restrictions on schools or religious services, members must maintain social distance and wear masks. However, all indoor sporting activities must be suspended (individual training may continue with safety measures in place).

The state is divided into regions for mitigation purposes, and while this particular order is statewide, most orders will be targeted at a specific region (Dupage and Cook Counties are regions 8 and 11, respectively). As such, the relaxation of these restrictions will vary from region to region. For any region to relax restrictions and return to tier 2 mitigation levels, it must see a seven day test positivity rate of 12% or lower for three consecutive days, as well as less than 80% capacity in ICUs and a decline in hospitalization rates for at least a week. The Illinois Department of Public Health encouraged residents to comply with the orders, saying “Right now, our preventive actions are the best way to prevent new cases, hospitalizations, and death.” State officials warned that, despite recent vaccine progress, the rate of infection in the state is currently unsustainable, and a full stay-at-home order may be necessary before restrictions can be loosened again.