Illinois COVID-19: Lake, McHenry counties to get mitigations; IL reports 6,110 coronavirus cases, 51 deaths

Restrictions include ban on indoor dining for restaurants, no inside service for bars
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois officials announced 6,110 new COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths Wednesday as well as mitigations for Lake and McHenry counties in Region 9, including a ban on indoor dining.

The number of new cases is the second-highest reported in a single day since the pandemic began. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois now stands at 389,095, with 9,619 deaths, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.

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The new mitigations mean that night indoor dining and indoor bar service will be temporarily closed - although outdoor dining in tents, as well as takeout and delivery, will still remain an option. Public gatherings will be reduced to just 25 people.

The mitigations will take effect on Saturday at 12:01 a.m. Governor Pritzker's office said the region has seen a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days.

A full list of the new COVID-19 mitigation measures is included at the bottom of this article.

The restrictions have already taken effect in suburban Cook County and will take effect in Chicago Friday.

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"With Region 9 being added to the list of regions in mitigation, we are getting close to the entire state implementing mitigation measures," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "This is not just a warning, but a call to action. We continue to move backwards, losing all the ground we had gained over the summer. We turned the state around once, let's do it again. Limit your potential exposures by wearing a mask, physically distancing, and limiting in-person gatherings. It will take all of us working together to beat this virus."

These latest restrictions means nearly the entire state is under COVID-19 mitigation protocols. With many other regions facing similar restrictions, the pushback is mounting.

"If it was the bars and restaurants, bars and restaurants would be shut down because all of their employees would have would have contracted it, too," said Melissa McIntyre, director of the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce.

"People are gonna move from the restaurants to the homes and it's just we're creating a bigger problem by eliminating people's ability to socialize and go to a restaurant," said State Rep. Jim Durkin, House Republican Leader

Gov. Pritzker toured the Pullman Community Center Wednesday, which is getting a business interruption grant, and reminded restaurants that there is a $200 million grant fund that they can apply to for assistance. He once again stressed the need for federal help, saying big businesses have gotten help, and now it's time to help taverns and restaurants. But he defended his mitigation protocols.

"Restaurants and bars, by multiple studies, have been shown to be places that where the virus spreads," Pritzker said. "To the extent that we can limit interactions in places where we know there's spread, that's what we're trying to do, especially in the midst of a COVID storm that's hit the state and the nation."

He added that enforcement efforts are also being stepped up.

"The state police have stepped up random checks of businesses that are subject to mitigation rules to identity those who aren't following them, and they've begun taking more stringent action to hold scofflaws accountable," Pritzker said.

In a letter to the governor, the mayor of Aurora said data from his local health department does not show that bars and restaurants are a significant source of spread. And he's not the only suburban official pushing back. The mayor of Morton Grove is also among those calling on the governor to reconsider the restrictions.

"A majority of us small town mayors feel that it is vital to keep restaurants open," Morton Grove Mayor Dan DiMaria said. "I'm not sure the governor can prove that being in a restaurant creates, is increasing the risk, but our restaurants have taken the measures that they need to take. They've scaled back."

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Gov. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot have talked since she expressed frustration over the mitigation efforts set to go into effect in Chicago on Friday.

Mayor Lightfoot pushed back on the governor Tuesday night, frustrated about a lack of communication from him after she had already announced city restrictions. On Wednesday, the two talked and appear to have mended fences.

"We had a great meeting and you know the mayor and I talk frequently, and you know we're always very frank with one another," Gov. Pritzker said. "You know what our resurgence mitigations are and we're gonna, you know we put them in place in each region as they trip the metrics."

"But one thing that I want to encourage, the state has $200 million that are available for business interruption grants," Lightfoot said. "We want to encourage businesses that are going to be negatively impacted by these latest restrictions to apply. We're going to be providing technical assistance to help them."

The mayor described their conversation as frank and productive, and she expressed a commitment to working with the governor. She said she was not looking for any special treatment for Chicago.

The mayor said she and the governor are 100% aligned on the health safety protocols people should take: masks, social distancing and limiting family gatherings.

"If they're not a family member or an immediate family member in your household, you should not be having dinner parties or weekend parties, card games, all the things that we know other people love and enjoy," Lightfoot said.

Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 70,752 specimens for a total of 7,459,042. The seven-day positivity rate from Oct. 21- 27 is 6.7%. The positivity rate is at its highest mark since May 30.

As of Tuesday night, 2,861 people were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, with 600 in the ICU and 243 on ventilators.

The deaths reported Wednesday include:
-Adams County: 1 female 80s
- Bureau County: 1 female 70s
- Clinton County: 1 female 90s
- Cook County: 1 youth, 3 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 2 females 90s
- DuPage County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 3 males 80s, 1 male 90s
- Franklin County: 1 female 50s
- Jefferson County: 2 males 70s, 1 female 80s

- Kankakee County: 1 female 80s
- Knox County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
- Lake County: 2 females 80s, 1 female 100+
- Macon County: 1 male 70s
- Madison County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 70s
- Marion County: 1 female 80s
- McLean County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 90s
- Peoria County: 2 females 80s, 2 females 90s
- Piatt County: 1 male 80s
- Rock Island County: 1 female 60s
- Stephenson County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
- Wayne County: 1 male 60s
- Whiteside County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 90s
- Will County: 2 males 80s
- Winnebago County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s

New COVID-19 mitigations for Chicago, suburbs


Bars:


-No indoor service

-All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m.
-All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
-No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
-Tables should be 6 feet apart
-No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
-No dancing or standing indoors
-Reservations required for each party
-No seating of multiple parties at one table

Restaurants


-No indoor dining or bar service
-All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m.
-Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
-No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
-Reservations required for each party
-No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings


-Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity
-No party buses
-Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable
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