Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a new expanded statewide policy focused on slowing the spread of Covid-19 in restaurants and bars and combating rising coronavirus numbers in some parts of the state.
Beginning tomorrow, all restaurant and bar patrons must wear face coverings over their noses and their mouth when interacting with wait staff and other employees. Customers must follow this rule when food and beverages are brought to the table, when orders are placed and when picking up carry out orders, Pritzker said at a news conference Tuesday.
“My hope is that imposing stronger mitigations now will result in faster public health progress that will allow us to reopen again, sooner. To open businesses, and to keep them open, we must slow the rate of the infection across the state” Pritzker said.
Hot spots: The governor also addressed the rising number of positive Covid-19 cases in Will and Kankakee counties. The average positivity rate for both counties exceeds 8% with the numbers of cases getting worse, not better. Pritzker said that the positivity level is a “danger signal that triggers new and stricter mitigations” and is based upon the resurgence plan he announced last month.
In order to mitigate the rising number of cases in Will and Kankakee counties, the governor announced new policies for that region also beginning tomorrow.
“All indoor bar service and indoor dining service will be closed. Outdoor bars and dining may stay open for table service if they follow the required mitigations, including that all patrons should remain seated, and that reservations will be required for any size groups," he said.
Other policies include removing all barstools to help ensure that no ordering, seating or congregating takes place at bars. Additionally, all bars, restaurants, gaming facilities and casinos must close at 11 p.m. local time. Party buses will be closed and gathering limits will be the lesser of 25 individuals or 25% of overall room capacity, Pritzker said.
The latest numbers: Illinois reports there are at least 1,549 individuals currently hospitalized across the state with Covid-19. Of those, at least 345 are in the ICU and at least 135 are on ventilators. The state also reports at least 1,680 new cases over the last 24 hours and 29 additional deaths.