SPRINGFIELD – Restaurants and bars will now be officially open for indoor dining and drinking as Region 4 of Restore Illinois in COVID-19 moved to Phase 4 today. Illinois Department of Public Health and Governor J.B. Pritzker made the announcement Thursday morning.

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The IDPH made the announcement for all the counties Thursday morning in Region 4 (Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington). IDPH encourages all the COVID-19 safety precautions to continue from wearing face masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc.

Bossonava Owner Russ Smith at 112 W. Third St. has followed the COVID-19 restrictions as they moved from tiers and now Phase 4. He said he is glad the restrictions are being lifted for inside dining, especially in the middle of winter. He added he also can't wait to open outside once spring comes.

“I think people will now decide it might be safer for everyone to go out,” he said. “We are being very careful at Bossanova. We have been seeing businesses starting to open up and this will definitely help us in the weeks to come as it gets better and better.”

Smith said he also has some plans with the Lovejoy Bar & Grill, already a wedding and event center, once warmer weather hits and he will release information at that time.

Alton Mayor Brant Walker said he actually felt like doing a handspring because of the tremendous news.

“I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “We are excited to see things return to normalization and see small businesses being able to get back up and be operational. This is sorely needed for employment and revenue purposes.”

Edwardsville City Economic Director Walter Williams said: "We are naturally excited about the restaurants and bars being able to open inside. We do encourage everyone to still take the proper COVID-19 precautions, wear masks, social distance. We don't want to go the other direction."

Mayor Walker said he was also glad to see boys and girls basketball can return to play. With Phase 4, area teams will resume action as soon as Saturday. Some in Region 3 of Restore Illinois in Jersey, Calhoun and Greene counties have already started the action.

“The juniors last year now seniors have lost a lot because of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” he said. “I am thankful they are going to be able to get back to some normalcy. I think I learned more playing sports sometimes than almost anything else about sportsmanship, teamwork and success. It is nice for those activities to resume.”

Phase 4 Guidelines include the following:

RESTAURANTS AND BARS
• Indoor dining and drinking now permitted for parties of up to 10 people
• Seated areas should be arranged so that tables allow for 6 feet between parties; impermeable barriers may be installed between booths which are less than 6 feet apart

RETAIL AND SERVICE COUNTER
• Continue capacity limit of no more than 50% occupancy

PERSONAL CARE
• Continue capacity limit of no more than 50% occupancy

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INDOOR/OUTDOOR RECREATION
• Reopening select indoor recreation facilities (e.g., bowling alleys, skating rinks); indoor playgrounds and trampoline parks should remain closed
• Indoor recreation to operate at lesser of 50 customers or 50% of facility capacity

MUSEUMS
• Capacity limit of no more than 25% occupancy
• Guided tours should be limited to 50 or fewer people per group

MEETINGS AND SOCIAL EVENTS
• Limit to the lesser of 50 people or 50% of room capacity
• Multiple groups may meet in the same facility if they are socially distanced and in separate rooms

IDPH will continue to closely monitor test positivity, ICU bed availability, and the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19. Should data show regions trending in the wrong direction, based on the established mitigation metrics, regions could once again find themselves in a higher tier with increased measures.

Metrics for moving from a higher to lower-tier are as follows:

Moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2

Test positivity rate = 8% and below 12% for three consecutive days (7-day average); AND Staffed ICU bed availability = 20% for three consecutive days (7-day average); AND Sustained decline in COVID patients in hospital (7-day average for 7 of 10 days)

Moving from Tier 2 to Tier 1

Test positivity rate between 6.5% and 8% for three consecutive days (7-day average); AND Staffed ICU bed availability = 20% for three consecutive days (7-day average); AND No sustained increase in COVID patients in hospital (7-day average for 7 of 10 days)

Moving from Tier 1 to Phase 4

Test positivity rate = 6.5% for three consecutive days (7-day average); AND Staffed ICU bed availability = 20% for three consecutive days (7-day average); AND

No sustained increase in COVID patients in hospital (7-day average for 7 of 10 days)

Information about mitigation and resurgence metrics can be found on the IDPH website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics.

Additional information about which tier and phase regions are in can be found at the top of the IDPH website homepage.

A Phase 4 Guidelines Overview can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.

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