New Illinois COVID-19 restrictions start Friday as “second wave” begins

Gov.+J.B.+Pritzker+speaks+Sunday%2C+April+19%2C+2020+at+the+Thompson+Center+during+the+coronavirus+pandemic.

Photo Courtesy of Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks Sunday, April 19, 2020 at the Thompson Center during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

A “second wave” of COVID-19 has arrived in Illinois, and every county must abide by a new set of restrictions starting 12:01 a.m. on Friday. 

“To slow the spread and until we can begin to bring down the infection rate, you should not attend dinners, events, gatherings or meetings beyond your own household,” Pritzker said at Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing. 

Illinois is reentering “Tier 3” mitigations, which pause all indoor service at bars and restaurants — requiring them to close by 11 p.m. — suspend all indoor group sports and set occupancy limits for fitness centers, grocery stores and retailers down to 25%. 

All indoor recreation centers, including museums movie theaters and performing arts centers are closed, along with casinos and gambling machines, party rooms and country clubs. 

“Tier 3 boils down to this: if you don’t need to do it, don’t,” Pritzker said.

On Tuesday, state officials announced another 12,602 cases of COVID-19 and 97 more deaths from the virus. 

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have quickly risen in November. According to Dr. Ngozi Ezike of the Illinois Department of Public Health, one in four hospital beds in the state are currently occupied by a COVID-19 positive person. 

“The second wave is now here, and it’s more dire than what we saw in the spring,” she said. 

For Thanksgiving,“we are asking people to choose Zoom,” Pritzker said. 

An individual region can move back to less restrictive Tier 2 mitigations once three criteria are met: 

— Declining seven-day COVID hospitalizations average in seven of 10 straight days.

— Seven-day average test positivity rate below 12% for three straight days.

— Greater than 20% available ICU and hospital bed availability for three consecutive days.

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