COVID Illinois: Regions 2, 5 move to Tier 1 mitigations allowing limited indoor dining, according to IDPH

Two Illinois regions have been cleared to move into Tier 1 effective immediately, according to the Illinois Department of Health.

Health officials announced Regions 2, in north-central Illinois, and Region 5, in southern Illinois, have met the state's COVID-19 metrics to ease restrictions.

The eased restrictions mean the largest restaurants and bars can seat up to 25 customers inside per room.

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Illinois health officials announced 4,162 new coronavirus cases and 29 deaths Sunday as a 2nd region moves to Tier 1 mitigations.

In Oswego, one restaurant owner said he's already seeing more calls coming in.

"It's nice to finally be getting back into the, the real feel of life," said Oswego resident Meghan Farej.

A sense of normalcy is sweeping through downtown Oswego, allowing families to enjoy a night out, as the state health department lifts the indoor dining ban for Illinois's Region 2.

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Some COVID-19 metrics are improving in Illinois, allowing more businesses to reopen.

As of Sunday, restaurants and bars in the region can seat up to 25 people or 25% capacity per room, whichever is fewer people.

"Anything is better than zero," said 113 Main owner Matt Verde.

Verde said takeout and delivery are window dressing compared to indoor dining, which is the core of a restaurant business plan.

"We have the opportunity to employ more people, bring more people back and give people who have been out of work for a while an opportunity to work again," Verde said.

Verde said he is already noticing increased interest from customers in just the first night since the eased restrictions went into effect.

"I think those people that were not going out, I think that they will now choose to, to go out," Verde said.

Diner Meghan Farej thinks the changes will bring relief to the community now that indoor dining is okay by the book.

"People don't feel like they have to go behind their backs or, you know, kind of, sneak between the lines to do it," she said. "So it feels really great to let these businesses just openly let people in and not feel like they're being told they can't."

But for Chicago and many of its other suburbs, indoor dining is still not allowed.

Tier 1 Restrictions:

Under Tier 1, all bars and restaurants must be closed from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Indoor services will also be allowed, however, at a capacity of 25 guests or less, or 25% capacity per room. Establishments offering indoor service must also serve food, according to IDPH.

Indoor service reservations must be limited to a two-hour max with a maximum of four people per party and is recommended to only be with members of the same household.

All bar and restaurant patrons should be seated at tables, and must not be ordering, seating or congregating at the bar as bar stools should be removed.

Tables must also be 6 feet apart and reservations should be required for each party. No seating of multiple parties at one table, including at private clubs or country clubs.

Patrons are not allowed to be standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting. There is also no dancing or standing indoors under Tier 1.

Sports should follow mitigation measures set forth in all sport guidelines and face coverings must be worn at all times in fitness centers, including while engaged in individual exercise regardless of person or machine spacing.

Recreation, fitness centers and outdoor activities (not included in the above exposure setting) must continue to follow Phase 4 guidance.

Region 2 includes:

Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren and Woodford counties.

Region 5 includes:

Alexander, Bond, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Edwards, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, St. Clair, Saline, Union, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, White and Williamson counties.
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