Officials in Illinois have issued orders to increase restrictions in several areas of the state, including the city of Chicago, starting Oct. 28 due to increases in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Authorities in Chicago have also amended their travel restrictions order, adding Florida to the list of states from where travelers need to self-quarantine upon entering the city.

Certain new restrictions will go into effect on Oct. 28 in Regions 4 and 10 of the state's Restore Plan, which encompass Madison, Bond, St. Clair, Clinton, Washington, Monroe, Randolph counties, and suburban Cook county; the same directives will enter into force on Oct. 30 in Region 11, which encompasses the city of Chicago. These include a ban on indoor services at bars and restaurants, with outdoor services being restricted to a reservation-only basis and being required to cease at 2300 nightly. All tables at such establishments must be placed at least 1.8 meters (six feet) away from each other. Moreover, social gatherings or meetings of more than 25 people or more than 25-percent of a room's capacity are also banned. Casinos must close nightly at 2300 and can operate only at 25-percent capacity.

These same additional restrictions had previously been imposed, and remain in place in Regions 1, 5, and 7, which encompass the following counties: Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson, Jo Daviess, DeKalb, Ogle, Carroll, Lee, Whiteside; Alexander, Pulaski, Massac, Union, Johnson, Pope, Hardin, Jackson, Williamson, Saline, Gallatin, Perry, Franklin, Hamilton, White, Jefferson, Wayne, Edwards, Wabash, Marion; Will, and Kankakee.

Additionally, in Chicago, nonessential businesses must close between 2200-0600; all businesses are limited to operating at 40-percent capacity. Authorities in Chicago have also amended their travel restrictions order. Under the directive, travelers entering Chicago from specific US states and territories must self-quarantine for 14 days; violations are punishable by fines. Effective Oct. 30, Florida will be added to the travel restrictions list, while no state or territory will be removed. The full updated list of states and territories will consist of: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

In the rest of the state, restrictions remain unchanged: gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, and gyms and fitness centers, office-based businesses, film production businesses, theaters and performing arts venues, retail stores, and personal care businesses can operate at 50-percent capacity. Restaurants and bars can offer indoor services with tables placed at 1.8 meters (six feet) from each other and limiting standing areas to 25-percent capacity. All employees who can work from home should continue doing so.

All establishments that operate must comply with strict mandates aimed at preventing the further spread of COVID-19, including the use of protective face coverings or other personal protective equipment, and enforcement of social distancing guidelines, among other things. Such measures may vary by industry or type of business.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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