SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday announced that Region 6 – which includes Effingham and surrounding counties – is returning to “Phase 4” of the Restore Plan.

In Phase 4, all gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed with this limit subject to change based on latest data and guidance; all health care providers are open; P-12 schools, higher education, all summer programs, and child care open with IDPH approved safety guidance; and all outdoor recreation is allowed.

All manufacturing can open with IDPH approved safety guidance; all employees of “Non-essential” businesses can return to work with IDPH approved safety guidance; employers are encouraged to provide accommodations for COVID-19-vulnerable employees.

Bars and restaurants can open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance.

All barbershops, salons, spas and health and fitness clubs can open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance. Cinema and theaters can open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance.

Retail can open with capacity limits and IDPH approved safety guidance.

Region 6 includes Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, and Vermillion counties.

Region 7, Kankakee and Will counties, is advancing to Tier 1. Information about which tier and phase regions are in can be found at the top of the IDPH website homepage.

“I am excited that 10 out of our 11 regions have moved out of Tier 3 mitigations,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a press release. “However, this does not mean we can let our guard down. We must continue to practice actions to protect ourselves from the virus – wear our masks, avoid large gatherings, and get the vaccine when it is our turn. This is particularly critical as new variants circulate, which early studies show spread much more rapidly. We are headed in the right direction once again, so let’s stay the course.”

IDPH will continue to closely monitor test positivity, ICU bed availability, and the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19. Should data show regions trending in the wrong direction, based on the established mitigation metrics, regions could once again find themselves in a higher tier with increase measures, according to the release.

Information about mitigation and resurgence metrics can be found on the IDPH website at dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics.

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