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Pritzker announces relaxation of COVID-19 mitigation

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021  |  Article  |  By Greg Bishop | The Center Square

Governor (44) , Health (49)

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday that if trends continue, regions of the state that meet certain benchmarks would be able to move into phases of the governor's reopening plan with fewer restrictions starting Jan. 15.

The state has been under Phase 4, Tier 3 of the governor's plan to mitigation COVID-19 since November. Those mitigations prohibited indoor bar and restaurant service statewide, but enforcement of such prohibition differed by county. 

Where previous mitigation phases had dates or metrics laid out for going through the phases, the most recent unilateral mandates were open ended. 

"Illinois did not experience the post Thanksgiving uptick at a rate that plagued most of the rest of the country," Pritzker said Wednesday in Chicago. "And we're watching closely in this incubation period post-Christmas and New Years."

The governor said he's cautiously optimistic and said he's hopeful regions won't reverse the progress he says his mitigations have made.

On Jan. 15 Pritzker said, "exactly one incubation period form New Year's Day, any region that has met the metrics for a reduction in the mitigation will be able to move out from Tier 3 from our mitigation plan."

Regional metrics can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

The governor's reopening plan has the state enter Phase 5 with no restrictions when there's a vaccine or therapeutics for COVID-19, but the administration has not provided specifics on when that threshold will be met. 

The U.S. Surgeon General has said there are COVID-19 therapeutics available.

Vaccine supplies for weeks have flow from the federal government through the state to local organizations.