Rising COVID numbers send entire state into Tier 3 with greater restrictions

With a new wave of COVID-19 surging across the state of Illinois, the Midwest and the nation, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced additional COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will take effect in every region across the state in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Tier 3 mitigations build on the Resurgence Mitigation Plan released in July to suppress the spread of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overrun. This latest round of mitigations aims to limit gatherings and encourages residents to stay home as much as possible and follow proper safety measures when out in public. The mitigations carefully balance the paramount goal of saving lives while preserving the option for in-person learning for children and protecting as much of the economy as possible from the continued impacts of the virus.

The Tier 3 resurgence mitigations will take effect statewide at 12:01 am on Friday, November 20, 2020.

“To stop this spread and preserve some semblance of the holidays, all of us need to do more than just wear our masks now – though masks are mandatory throughout the state. The simple fact is that COVID-19 is spreading so quickly and so widely, and our hospitals are beginning to experience real strain and at the current infection rate they will be overwhelmed. So whenever possible, we need you to stay home,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m hopeful that by limiting our in-person interactions, we will succeed at avoiding a stay at home order like what we had in the spring – when the choice between saving lives and saving livelihoods was even more stark. Tier 3 may allow us to do both. Like in other states like Michigan and California and Washington, it’s our best effort to avoid a stay-at-home order and save lives.”

The first tiers of the Resurgence Mitigation Plan initially suppressed the virus and protected the progress Illinois made towards bending the curve during the Spring, while allowing each of the state’s eleven regions to progress through the phases based on local metrics. But with COVID-19 spread now exponential in every region of the state, our statewide positivity rate at record highs and hospitalizations already surpassing our Spring peak, an additional tier of more stringent, statewide mitigations is required to combat the surge and preserve hospital capacity.

“There is no denying that the state is headed in the wrong direction with increased cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “There also is no denying that reducing the opportunities for the virus to spread can reverse our direction. This includes staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask and keeping social distance when we do have to go out, and not gathering with people outside our households. Until a vaccine is widely available and people understand the importance of being vaccinated, we must continue to take preventive actions to stop the transmission of the virus. Right now, our preventive actions are the best way to prevent new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.”

While this latest round of mitigations does not include a stay at home order, if the mitigations are not adhered to and cases continue to rise in the weeks ahead, another order may be required. For all regions, additional mitigation measures taking effect Friday, November 20th include guidance for the following settings and industries:


  • Personal Car Services
  • Health and Fitness Centers
  • Hotels
  • Manufacturing
  • Bars and Restaurants
  • Meetings and Social Events
  • Offices

Indoor Recreation, Theater, Cultural Institutions

As they have since the start of COVID-19, grocery stores across the state will remain open and available. Child care facilities may continue to operate subject to guidelines from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. School districts and officials should continue to follow the extensive guidance released by the Illinois State Board of Education in August to make decisions related to in-person and remote learning at the local level.

To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, Illinois residents are urged to stay home as much as possible and celebrate upcoming holidays with members of their household. Illinoisans over the age of two years are required to wear a face covering when out in public and social distancing is not easily achievable. Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been in contact with someone exhibiting symptoms should seek out testing and quarantine at home; anyone who has tested positive for the virus should isolate at home as directed by their physician or local health department.

IDPH will continue to track the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in regions over a 14-day monitoring periods to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place. In order for a region to move back to Tier 2 mitigations, a region must experience less than 7-day 12 percent test positivity average for three consecutive days AND greater than 20 percent available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability for three consecutive days AND declining 7-day COVID hospitalizations average in 7 out of the last 10 days. Follow the latest regional metrics at: https://dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics

In response to the rising test positivity rate statewide, the administration continues to strengthen its nation-leading testing operation. Last week, the state reported a record high of 114,370 tests within a 24-hour period, now averaging more than 97,800 tests per day. Although the administration continues to build upon this progress, the state’s rate of growth in positivity is outpacing the growth in testing. It is critical to get tested before developing symptoms, as testing remains free to all Illinois residents and readily available throughout the state. To find a testing center near you, please visit DPH.Illinois.Gov/Testing.

Bars and restaurants

  • • All bars and restaurants close at 11pm and may reopen no earlier than 6am the following day
  • • No indoor service
  • • All bar and restaurant 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 outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • • No dancing or standing indoors
  • • No tables exceeding 6 people
  • • Reservations required for each party
  • • No seating of multiple parties at one table
  • • Indoor gaming terminals must suspend operations
  • • Includes private clubs and country clubs

Health and fitness centers

  • • Operate at no more than 25% capacity
  • • No indoor group classes
  • • Face coverings must be worn at all times, including while engaged in individual exercise regardless of person or machine spacing
  • • Reservations required
  • • Locker room areas should be closed


  • • Hotel room occupancy should be limited to registered guests only, with the maximum allowance being the number of individuals permissible per existing fire code for each applicable guest room
  • • Fitness centers should be closed, or operated only on a reservation model with capacity limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy for the room
  • • Grab and go food allowed
  • • Event and meeting space closed
  • * Indoor recreation, theaters, cultural institutions (e.g. casinos, bowling, arcades, movie theaters, museums and zoos

Gaming and casinos close

  • Indoor recreation centers, including theaters, performing arts centers and indoor
    museums and amusement centers, close
  • Live streaming of performances encouraged with social distancing of performers and minimum operational staff
  • Outdoor activities allowed at 25% capacity or less
  • Outdoor group activities limited to 10 persons or less, participants/guests must
    wear face coverings at all times
  •  Reservations required for each guest for outdoor activities


  • • Additional COVID training for all employees required even if previous training occurred
  • • Operators should coordinate with IDPH to implement testing protocols and contact tracing, upon request, consistent with available testing supplies
  • • All employees must wear face coverings at all times unless eating or drinking. Exemptions only for safety purposes.
  • • Only manufacturing staff and key personnel allowed in facilities. Non-production employees must work remotely. Non-essential staff and visitors are not permitted. Exemptions only for critical equipment repairs, supply deliveries and safety reasons (“critical visitors”).
  • • All critical visitors must have an Employee Health and Safety (EHS)-approved risk-assessment done in advance, including travel history, tracking, and temperature check prior to entrance.
  • • Implement additional workstation realignment when feasible
  • • Stagger and space shifts, and designate shift entrances and exits (when
    possible) to minimize interactions of employees across unique shift groupings
  • • Station sanitation required at beginning and ending of shifts
  • • Operators must suspend COVID-related incentive pay and promote staying
    home when sick or showing symptoms
  • • Implement temporary leave policies to accommodate workers who are sick
  • • Develop and implement safety protocols for employee travel vans to promote spacing, require face coverings, temperature checks, air circulation, and vehicle sanitization

 Meetings, social events and gatherings (including weddings, potlucks, etc.)

  • • Limit in home gatherings to household members
  • • Meeting rooms, banquet centers, private party rooms, private clubs and country
    clubs may not host gatherings
  • • No party buses
  • • Funerals are limited to 10 family members of the decedents, not including staff, see IDPH guidance


  • • All employees who can work remotely should work remotely
  • * Organized group recreational activities (sports, indoor sports and activity facilities, etc.)…
  • • Pause all indoor group sporting and recreational activities including youth and adult recreational sports, individual training may remain (with facility reservation) Includes park districts and travel leagues
  • • Outdoor sports and recreation allowed
  • • Participant groups and practices outdoors limited to 10 persons or less with social distancing
  • • Face coverings required for all activities at all times
  • • Locker rooms should be closed

 Personal care service

  • • Operate at lesser of 25 clients or 25% capacity
  • • Face coverings must be worn at all times by clients and service providers
  • • Suspend services where a face covering cannot be worn (e.g. facials, beard
  • • Physical, occupational and massage therapy allowed as deemed necessary by a medical provider, but appointments must be spaced by a minimum of 15 minutes and facilities should take steps to sanitize and circulate clean air through service rooms before and after each service
  • • Virtual consultations recommended

Retail (including service counters)

  • • Operate at no more than 25% capacity, including general merchandise stores, “big box” stores that offer groceries and pharmacy, and convenience stores
  • • Grocery stores and pharmacies may operate at up to 50% capacity
  • • Encourage delivery or curbside pickup options wherever possible
  • • When in-store shopping is necessary, promote efficient trips and consistent circulation

The provisions above apply to industries/sectors with Restore Illinois Phase 4 guidance or other mitigations. Other functions (i.e. infrastructure, governments, logistics and warehousing, etc.) that previously have not been subject to specific guidance may continue regular operations but are encouraged to voluntarily take proactive steps to support new mitigation strategies wherever possible. In these areas, customer serving functions should be limited to 25% capacity, aligned with retail mitigations, and maximize work from home wherever possible.

IDPH will continue to track the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in regions over 14-day monitoring periods to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place. In order for a region to move back to Tier 2 mitigations, a region must experience less than 12% 7-day average test positivity rate for three consecutive days AND greater than 20% available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability for three consecutive days AND declining 7-day average COVID hospitalizations for 7 out of the last 10 days.