Illinois Cautiously Reopens Zoos, Fitness Centers And Movie Theaters Friday

Updated at 11:09 p.m. ET

Illinois moves into the next phase of its reopening plan on Friday.

The guidelines allow movie theaters, zoos, museums and health and fitness centers to reopen with limited capacity. Restaurants will be able to offer in-door dining and gatherings of 50 people or fewer will be permitted.

Schools and child care programs with social distancing policies in place can also reopen. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans can return to work.

“The battle is not over,” said Pritzker, “but so much progress has been made. If we continue to follow the path the doctors recommend we can continue our march towards more normalcy.”

Pritzker said because residents followed guidelines—wearing face masks, frequently washing their hands, staying home and practicing social distancing—there’s been more than a 60 percent decline in the number of coronavirus deaths per day in Illinois from a peak six weeks ago. There also has been a deeper drop in the percentage of new cases.

Any pride in success, he added, must be tempered by grief.

Thursday, the state reported 894 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the overall total to 139,434. The state reported 41 new fatalities; the number of Illinois residents who’ve lost their lives to the pandemic is 6,810. At the same time, Illinois set a single day testing record, conducting more than 31,000 for the first time.

Illinois expands its reopening just as coronavirus surges worsened in several other states. Arizona, California and Texas are among those that saw drastic increases in recent days, with some governors saying they might have to slow reopenings to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pritzker said he expects there will be some difficulty in Illinois, too, as the state reopens and warns he won’t hesitate to impose restrictions if there’s a rise in cases.

However, Illinois Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said for now, Illinois residents deserve praise.

“You did it!,” she said at a Thursday press conference. “Illinois is being touted across the country of getting it right.”

Even so, Ezike said the virus persists and people are still being infected and dying. She likened the refusal by some to wear facemasks to playing a game of Russian Roulette.

“The stakes are high,” she said. “Let’s not gamble with coronavirus. We don’t even know the long-term effects of COVID-19, what might happen to our lungs five years from now after being infected.”

Dr. Emily Landon, the executive medical director for infection prevention at the University of Chicago, worries that some consider wearing a mask a political statement. She said they aren’t, “unless there’s a political statement on them.”

She calls facemasks “a piece of fabric that covers a part of your body that needs to be protected like gloves in the winter,” adding that, Illinois residents should be able to get used to them, just like she did when she first became a physician.

In Illinois and elsewhere, COVID-19 has hit areas with large Black and Latinx residents disproportionately hard. Carlos Nelson is a community leader in Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. He urged everyone to take the next phase of the Illinois reopening seriously and for community leaders to set an example.

“We must do our part to maintain a level of awareness that the coronavirus is still real without a vaccine,” he said.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

— to www.wxxinews.org

Related Articles

Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA opens fitness centers for members with medical need | Cabarrus County | Latest Headlines

Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA is using the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ definition of medical professional which lists several positions: licensed physicians, licensed physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners, licensed nurses, licensed chiropractors, licensed dieticians, licensed respiratory care therapists, licensed psychologists, licensed clinical mental health counselors, licensed occupational therapists, licensed physical therapists, licensed recreational therapists, and […]
Read more
Tessa James shares her health and wellness habits. Image: Darren McDonald

Actress Tessa James shares her health, fitness, wellness and beauty routine

Actress and supplements founder Tessa James believes taking time for yourself is the best way to start your day. Between motherhood and juggling her career and side-hustle in wellness, she knows a thing or two about finding balance and staying healthy. In our editorial series My Healthy Habits, we chat to inspiring individuals about their […]
Read more

24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Inc. – Leading Health and Fitness Chain Files Chapter 11 with $1.4bn of Funded Debt Citing “Disproportionate Impact” of COVID-19, Lines Up $250mn DIP Financing and Looks to Reject at Least 135 Leases | Daily Bankrupt Company Updates

June 15, 2020 – 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Inc.and 10 affiliated Debtors (“24 Hour Fitness” or the “Debtors”) filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware, lead case number 20-11558. The Debtors, one of the nation’s leading operators of health and fitness clubs, are represented by Laura Davis […]
Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search for: