Citing a downward trend in the COVID-19 positivity rate for the Metro East (Region 4), Governor Pritzker announced on Friday that the area would return to the same Phase 4 rules as most of the rest of Illinois at 5pm. The area includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington Counties.
Indoor dining and bar service, along with larger crowd size limits (50 people for gatherings) will resume. The region had been under harsher restrictions since mid-August, when IDPH reported the state’s positivity rate had surpassed 8%. The Governor had stated that restrictions would remain in place until the positivity rate dropped below 6.5% for three consecutive days, which it did on Friday.
There has been some controversy about the data used to determine enhanced restrictions for the Metro East, including incomplete and potentially misleading data.
"I’m thankful that our businesses will now be able to operate at a higher capacity and hopeful that we will see many of the recently-lost jobs return to the area,” said Senator Schimpf. “I do not believe these restrictions should have been enacted on the region in the first place because they were based on the wrong metric, which itself was based on flawed and incomplete data. Moving forward, I continue to urge the Governor to focus on regional hospitalization rates, which are a much more accurate assessment of the actual COVID-19 situation."
Region 1, including much of Northern and Northwestern Illinois, remains under tightened restrictions. The region includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties. The positivity rate for the area has been increasing slightly during the week and remains above 8%.