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The state still strongly recommends keeping public gatherings to 10 and under but it’s now up to churches, synagogues and mosques on how to proceed with indoor worship services.
Facing another court challenge, this one filed Thursday by five Lake County churches, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that the state was withdrawing its prohibition on indoor services involving more than 10 people and instead issuing "guidance" for how to safely conduct them.
Beginning Friday, Phase 3 of the state's Restore Illinois plan, people can attend services without the fear of prosecution.
“The safest options remain remote and drive-in services,” Pritzker said. “But for those that want to conduct in-person activities, IDPH is offering best practices.”
Among public health’s recommendations for those houses of worship that hold indoor services:
— If holding more services with fewer than 10 people each isn’t possible, limit building capacity to 25 percent or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower.
— Discontinue singing, group recitation and any other practices “where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets.”
— No handshakes, hugs, communion on the tongue, use of a common cup or post-service potlucks.
View the full order — 'COVID-19 Guidance for Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services' — here.
13 NEW CASES IN CHAMPAIGN COUNTY
Of 440 new COVID-19 tests reported Thursday in Champaign County, 13 came back positive.
That’s 3 percent, 1 point below Wednesday’s total.
The total number of confirmed cases countywide rose to 596. Of those, 442 are considered recovered and 147 are active.
The number of hospitalized residents shrunk from six to four.
Meanwhile, Champaign County now has three ZIP codes with 100 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with Champaign’s 61820 adding two Thursday.
Here's an updated rundown of cases by ZIP code, according to C-U Public Health District data, which doesn't distinguish between active and recovered:
— 61866/Rantoul: 148 (up two from Wednesday)
— 61821/Champaign: 109 (up two from Wednesday)
— 61820/Champaign: 100 (up two from Wednesday)
— 61802/Urbana: 92 (up four from Wednesday)
— 61822/Champaign: 49 (up one from Wednesday)
— 61801/Urbana: 43 (up two from Wednesday)
— 61874/Savoy: 15 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61853/Mahomet: 12 (no change from Wednesday)
— 60949/Ludlow: 6 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61863/Pesotum: 5 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61880/Tolono: 5 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61873/St. Joseph: 4 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61849/Homer: 2 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61878/Thomasboro: 2 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61843/Fisher: 1 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61847/Gifford: 1 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61862/Penfield: 1 (no change from Wednesday)
— 61877/Sidney: 1 (no change from Wednesday)
SHERIFFS' ASSOCIATION FILES SUIT
Our Mary Schenk reports ...
The Illinois Sheriffs' Association filed suit Thursday against Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Department of Corrections for IDOC's refusal to accept inmates sentenced to prison since March 26.
IDOC officials said it needed time to prepare its institutions and put safeguards in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus from inmates coming in from county jails.
However, the sheriffs maintain IDOC hasn't done that that and they are left to bear the burden of protecting their own detainees as well as those who should be in Illinois prisons.
COUNTY FACILITIES SET TO REOPEN
Our Deb Pressey reports ...
Champaign County government facilities will have a soft reopening to the public starting Monday.
Masks will be required to enter county buildings, according to County Executive Darlene Kloeppel.
The Brookens Administrative Center will reopen its main front and back doors Monday, and the county executive, county recorder, county auditor, county assessor, planning and zoning and Veterans Assistance Commission will be open during regular business hours.
Also resuming regular hours Monday will be the county highway department, animal control facility and coroner’s office.
The county courthouse will reopen Monday with several modifications to normal operations, among them chances in occupancy limits in courtrooms. And some courthouse offices will see clients and visitors by appointment only.
The county treasurer and county clerk will open for walk-in traffic in mid-June to allow time for glass partitions to be installed at service counters.
The county Mental Health Board office will remain closed except by appointment.
The public is asked to check with the Urbana Park District for use of the Brookens gym and surrounding sports fields, which will remain closed Monday.
The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission at Brookens is closed for renovations.
WHAT PHASE 4 WOULD LOOK LIKE
The Restore Illinois clock will restart Friday, with regions eligible to advance from Phase 3 to 4 no sooner than 28 days from now.
The criteria are the same as they were to get to Phase 3 — with set metrics for positivity rates, hospital admissions and medical/surgical/ICU beds and ventilators.
Among the big changes, as the rules currently stand, in Phase 4:
— Bars and restaurants are allowed to seat and serve customers indoors — with capacity limits and IDPH-approved safety guidance, like everything on this list.
— Schools are allowed to reopen.
— Cinemas and theaters are allowed to reopen for the first time in three months. So too are health clubs and gyms.
— Gatherings of of 50 people or fewer — up from the current 10 or fewer — are allowed.
— All forms of outdoor recreation are allowed, including basketball.
CENTRAL MOVES ON TO PHASE 3
It’s official: All four regions will advance to Restore Illinois Phase 3, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced at Thursday afternoon’s daily COVID-19 update.
That means barbershops and salons can cut hair, restaurants and bars can serve customers in outdoor areas and golf foursomes can tee off at the same time.
Also, Pritzker said, more guidance — “not mandatory restrictions” — for all houses of worship in Phase 3 will be released today, Pritzker said, emphasizing that “the safest options remain remote and drive-in services.”
A look at how the central region — which includes Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Piatt and Vermilion counties — fared in the three metrics used to determine whether a region could advance from Phase 2 to 3:
1. At or under a 20 percent positivity rate and increasing no more than 10 percentage points over a 14-day period.
The central has a best-in-the-state 2.6 percent positive rate, with a reduction of 1.3 percent in the past 14 days.
That compares to 5.1 percent in the southern, 6.9 percent in the north-central and 14.2 percent in the northeast.
2. No overall increase (i.e. stability or decrease) in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness for 28 days.
Since May 1, hospital admissions are down 9.0 percent in the central region.
3. Available surge capacity of at least 14 percent of ICU beds, medical and surgical beds and ventilators.
Percentages for the central region: 50.8 in ICU beds, 47.9 percent in medical/surgical beds and 74.9 percent in ventilators.
STATE TOTALS: 115,833 CASES, 5,186 DEATHS
The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate remained in single digits Thursday — 8.3 percent.
The state added 1,527 newly confirmed cases to a total that now stands at 115,833 and 104 coronavirus-related fatalities for a total of 5,186.
Within the past 24 hours, state laboratories reported processing 25,993 tests.
The fatalities spanned 16 counties:
— Coles County: 1 male 80s.
— Cook County: 2 males 40s, 2 females 50s, 3 females 60s, 7 males 60s, 1 unknown 60s, 8 females 70s, 10 males 70s, 7 females 80s, 7 males 80s, 9 females 90s, 6 males 90s, 2 unknown 90s.
— DeKalb County: 1 female 70s.
— DuPage County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s.
— Kane County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 100-plus.
— Kankakee County: 1 male 90s.
— Lake County: 2 females 60s, 2 males 60s, 1 male 70s, 4 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s.
— Macoupin County: 1 male 80s.
— McHenry County: 1 female 80s.
— Sangamon County: 1 female 80s.
— St. Clair County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s.
— Tazewell County: 1 male 90s.
— Union County: 2 males 70s.
— Whiteside County: 2 females 90s.
— Will County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s.
— Winnebago County: 1 female 90s.
— Downtown "picnic parks" are part of Champaign's three-part outdoor seating plan, announced Wednesday night by way of an emergency order from Mayor Deb Feinen.
The highlights, according to the city:
1. "Temporary expansion of the City’s popular Outdoor Café program for the sale and consumption of food and beverage on public outdoor spaces near existing bars and restaurants, including the use of certain sidewalks, streets, loading zones and parking spaces. Outdoor Cafés will be permitted to operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily."
2. "Bars and restaurants (with) privately owned parking lots or other vacant outdoor space" can "temporarily expand their premises for the sale and consumption of food and beverage in those areas. Food and beverage service in these expanded outdoor areas will be permitted from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily."
3. The establishment of three picnic parks on city streets and right-of-way downtown "to allow for the comfortable consumption of takeout food by customers of downtown restaurants. Work on setting up the picnic parks will begin this week and they are expected to be available for the use of takeout customers next week. They will be open during lunch and dinner hours and will close at 9 p.m. daily. Alcohol will not be permitted."
The parks will be located at Chester Street between Walnut Street and University Avenue, the eastern section of Park Avenue between Neil Street and Randolph Street and the southern section of the city parking lot at Neil Street and Washington Street.
— Of 389 new COVID-19 tests reported Wednesday in Champaign County, 15 — or 4 percent — came back positive. The total number of confirmed cases rose to 583. Of those, 434 are considered recovered and 142 are active. Six residents remain hospitalized. Eight of the 15 new cases were reported in Urbana’s 61802 ZIP code.
— On the day that the national death toll reached 100,000, Illinois became the sixth state to surpass 5,000 coronavirus-related fatalities, with the addition of 160 on Wednesday.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 5,083 Illinoisans who tested positive for COVID-19 have died, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced. Nationally, only New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania have lost more lives.
Illinois also reported 1,111 newly confirmed cases, pushing the state total to 114,306.
— Urbana has created a COVID-19 Outdoor Seating Permit that businesses will need to apply for, but it won’t close down any streets.
“There will be no City of Urbana street closures for outdoor dining purposes,” an announcement from the city said Wednesday. “Also, live or amplified music will not be accommodated at this juncture.”
In their applications, businesses will need to share what their plans are for outdoor trash, restroooms, hand sanitation for customers, where customers will wait and contact tracing.
They’ll also need to include a proposed outdoor seating area, a path for pedestrians to travel around and through the seating area, how cars will enter and exit, and where any tents will be located, if necessary.
“Be assured that the City of Urbana staff is committed to working with you to accommodate your individual needs and timing for your outdoor dining opening,” the announcement said.
Danville also announced outdoor seating guidelines Wednesday, also limiting it to property owned and leased by the business. Tables will need to be set back at least 5 feet from the road and not interfere with pedestrian traffic.