Restore Illinois Health RegionsRestore Illinois Phases

As we consider our church gatherings, we will need to pay attention to various levels of community risk and possible exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. On May 5, 2020, the State of Illinois released its Restore Illinois plan that describes five phases of safety precautions. The full plan is available from the state coronavirus site, and it describes the phases this way:

  1. Phase 1 – Rapid Spread: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already, and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.
  2. Phase 2 – Flattening: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory. Nonessential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.
  3. Phase 3 – Recovery: The rate of infection among those surveillance tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. Gatherings limited to 10 people or fewer are allowed. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
  4. Phase 4 – Revitalization: The rate of infection among those surveillance tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. Gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
  5. Phase 5 – Illinois Restored: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be aware that these levels will likely change multiple times until there is an effective and available vaccine or treatment. These will be implemented according to local conditions within four regions of the State:

  1. Northeast
  2. Northcentral
  3. Central
  4. Southern

Our Illinois Great Rivers Conference has members and churches in each of these four regions, and we are expecting that we will have different churches utilizing different safety practices based on the public health guidance for their region. Regions are primarily determined by counties, and you can find your region on the map provided by the Restore Illinois plan.