What you need to know about COVID-19 restrictions easing Friday in the 'Bridge Phase'

  • Ticketed spectator events, both indoors and outside, will be allowed to have more people in the stands during the state's Bridge Phase that begins Friday.

    Ticketed spectator events, both indoors and outside, will be allowed to have more people in the stands during the state's Bridge Phase that begins Friday. Associated Press file photo/May 9

 
 
Updated 5/14/2021 8:43 AM

Friday hearkens the arrival of Illinois' long-awaited "Bridge Phase" as part of the state's COVID-19 reopening plan.

Guided by a decrease of hospitalizations and new cases of the respiratory disease, the new phase will allow greater capacity at many businesses and social gatherings.

 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday also said the state remains on target for a full reopening, where there would be no limitations on capacity at any venue, by June 11.

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, also announced that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to social-distance or wear masks indoors or outside. She said masks should still be worn on public transportation, such as planes, trains and buses, though.

"If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic," Walensky said during Thursday's announcement.

But some public health experts are concerned about the new federal guidelines since there is no national, statewide or local validation system for those who have been fully vaccinated.

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"I'm all for letting the fully vaccinated be unmasked indoors and outdoors, but unless we can reliably ensure that the unmasked are fully vaccinated, best policy is to protect the vulnerable including kids, immunocompromised, and, yes, the unvaccinated by mandating masks," tweeted Dr. Emily Landon, head of the University of Chicago's infectious disease prevention and control program.

State health agencies remain responsible for setting public health guidelines, and there have been no new edicts issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health in the wake of the CDC's announcement. For now, the state's Bridge Phase guidelines are unchanged in regard to masking and social distancing policies for businesses and gatherings, but here's a look at what is changing:

Dining

• Phase 4: Indoor capacity 25% for standing areas, with tables six feet apart and no parties larger than 10 people

• Bridge Phase: Indoor capacity 30% for standing areas, 50% capacity for standing areas outdoors. Tables remain six feet apart and no parties larger than 10 people.

Health & fitness centers

• Phase 4: 50% capacity, with group classes no larger than 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors

• Bridge Phase: 60% capacity, with group classes no larger than 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Offices, entertainment production, personal care services and retail

• Phase 4: 50% capacity

• Bridge Phase: 60% capacity

Festivals & outdoor spectator events

• Phase 4: 15 people per 1,000 square feet

• Bridge Phase: 30 people per 1,000 square feet

Amusement parks

• Phase 4: 25% capacity

• Bridge Phase: 60% capacity

Flea & farmer markets

• Phase 4: Lesser of 25% capacity or 15 people per 1,000 square feet

• Bridge Phase: 15 people per 1,000 square feet indoors, 30 people per 1,000 square feet outdoors

Meetings, conferences & conventions

• Phase 4: Lesser of 50 people max or 50% capacity for venues of 200 people or fewer, and lesser of 250 people max or 25% capacity for venues greater than 200 people

• Bridge Phase: Lesser of 1,000 people max or 60% capacity

Museums

• Phase 4: 25% capacity

• Bridge Phase: 60% capacity

Social events

• Phase 4: Lesser of 50 people or 50% capacity for indoor venues and lesser of 100 people or 50% capacity outdoors

• Bridge Phase: 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors

Theaters, performing arts & spectator sporting events

• Phase 4: Lesser of 50% capacity or 50 people max for indoor venues of 200 people or fewer, and 25% capacity for indoor and outdoor venues for more than 200 people

• Bridge Phase: 60% capacity

Zoos

• Phase 4: 25% capacity with cap of lesser of 50% capacity or 50-person max for indoor exhibits

• Bridge Phase: 60% capacity

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