2 More Illinois Regions Move to Phase 4 COVID-19 Mitigations

Published January 25, 2021  Updated on January 25, 2021 at 10:29 am

Two of Illinois’ 11 regions moved to Phase 4 coronavirus mitigations Monday, further loosening restrictions put in place to slow the pandemic’s spread.

Region 1 and Region 2 both moved to Phase 4 effective Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced.

Region 1 includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties, while Region 2 includes Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren and Woodford counties.

To move from Tier 1 to Phase 4, a region must meet the following criteria:

  • Test positivity rate ≤ 6.5% for three consecutive days (7-day average) AND
  • Staffed hospital and ICU beds ≥ 20% for three consecutive days (3-day average) AND
  • No sustained increase in COVID patients in hospital (7-day average over 7 of 10 days)

Here’s a look at the guidelines for Phase 4:

Gatherings: All gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed with this limit subject to change based on latest data and guidance

Travel: Travel should follow IDPH and CDC approved guidance

Health care: All health care providers are open

Education and child care: P-12 schools, higher education, all summer programs, and child care open with IDPH approved safety guidance

Outdoor recreation: All outdoor recreation allowed


  • Manufacturing: All manufacturing open with IDPH approved safety guidance
  • “Non-essential” businesses: All employees can return to work with IDPH approved safety guidance; Employers are encouraged to provide accommodations for COVID-19-vulnerable employees
  • Bars and restaurants: Open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance
  • Personal care services and health clubs: All barbershops, salons, spas and health and fitness clubs open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance
  • Entertainment: Cinema and theaters open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance
  • Retail: Open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance

Regions 1 and 2 now join three other regions – 3, 5 and 6 – in the least restrictive of the mitigation levels currently available under the state’s system.

State health officials announced last week that all 11 of Illinois’ regions are now out of Tier 3, the most restrictive of the mitigation levels that was implemented statewide in late November amid a second wave of the pandemic.

Tier 3 suspended indoor dining across Illinois and closed down museums and casinos, among other mitigations which lasted through the holiday season. Pritzker announced earlier this month that regions could begin to lift those most stringent restrictions on Jan. 15 if they met the criteria.

“With all regions of Illinois now out of Tier 3, we can now see that the entire state is headed down the right path,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Friday. “During the summer, we were on this same path.  We know that we must continue to take precautions and be smart about how we relax some of the mitigation measures, which are in place to protect our health and safety.”

The health department plans to “closely monitor test positivity, ICU bed availability, and the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19” for all regions and if numbers begin trending in the wrong direction, regions could see increased mitigations return.

For a full breakdown of what’s allowed in each tier click here.

Tier 1 vs. Phase 4, Explained: The Differences in Illinois’ Coronavirus Mitigation Levels


Illinois took another step forward in its fight to help contain the spread of coronavirus on Monday, moving two of its health care regions back into Phase 4 of the “Restore Illinois” plan.

The decision marks the first time since mid-November that a region has been placed back into that plan, thanks to the lower positivity rates and decreases in hospitalizations that Region 3, located in western Illinois, and Region 5, in the southern portion of the state, are seeing.

With the state now once again utilizing its “phased” coronavirus mitigation strategy, along with its newer tiered-system that was designed to cope with increases in cases over the fall, some residents may be asking a simple question: what’s the big difference between Phase 4 and Tier 1?

To help, we’ve broken down some of the significant differences between Tier 1, the lowest-tier of restrictions in the state’s newest COVID-19 mitigation effort, and Phase 4, which existed in the previously-existing “Restore Illinois” plan.

Bars and Restaurants:

In Tier 1 –

All bars and restaurants must close at 11pm

Indoor service is limited to 25 guests or 25% capacity, whichever is lower

Establishments offering indoor service MUST serve food

No dancing or standing indoors

Reservations required for all parties

In Phase 4 –

Indoor bar service may resume without restrictions requiring food service

All other occupancy limitations, including prohibition on standing indoors, remain in place

Meetings and Social Gatherings:

In Tier 1 –

Limit of 25 guests or 25% of room capacity in place

No party buses

In Phase 4 –

Limit of 50 guests, or 25% of room capacity

Party buses allowed

Organized Group Recreational Activities:

In Tier 1 –

Face coverings must be worn inside fitness centers, regardless of spacing

Recreation, fitness centers and outdoor activities should follow Phase 4 guidance

In Phase 4 –

All Tier 1 requirements remain in place, with all barbershops, salons, spas, health and fitness clubs open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance


In Phase 4 –

Cinema and movie theaters can reopen with capacity limits

Here are some other Phase 4 requirements for area residents to pay attention to:

-All businesses deemed “non-essential” can allow employees to return to work with IDPH safety guidance in place.

-Manufacturing facilities can be opened with IDPH approved guidance.

-Schools, colleges and child care can safely open to in-person instruction with safety guidance in place.

-All health care providers are allowed to open.

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January 18, 2021 at 05:33PM