Today Governor JB Pritzker abandoned the original language from his Restore Illinois Plan regarding the movement from Phase 4 to Phase 5 and announced a new “bridge” phase with new requirements that must be met as Illinois transitions to Phase 5.
“It is important to note that legislators learned the details of the new “bridge” plan at the same time as the general public,” said State Senator Don DeWitte (R-St. Charles). “Once again, the Governor created these new requirements without consulting with the legislature. Even though the Senate and House are back in session in Springfield, the Governor still insists on going it alone with every aspect of the COVID-19 response.”
According to the Governor’s new plan, the newly-created bridge phase will kick in once the following benchmarks are met for 28 consecutive days:
- 70% of people 65 and older have received at least one vaccination dose (today at 58%);
- ICU bed availability remains at 20% or greater; and
- there is a non-increasing trend in COVID-19 hospital admissions and mortality rate.
After moving to the bridge phase, transitioning to Phase 5 still cannot occur until 50% of those age 16-64 have received at least one vaccination dose (today at 28%), and ICU availability, hospital admission and death rates are maintained or trend downward. Those age 16+ will be eligible for vaccines on April 12.
Due to ongoing requests from the business community and from legislators, today the Governor also announced a small change to current Phase 4 mitigations, and slightly relaxed mitigations for the bridge phase. Click here to view a detailed chart for settings, and how capacity limits would change between Phase 4 and the bridge phase.
“When making his announcement today, the Governor once again said science and data are driving his decisions. Despite repeated requests by lawmakers, he has yet to provide us with the specific science and data he is using,” added DeWitte. “He is also leaving no room for geographical differences, as he announced today that the entire state will move from Phase 4 to the bridge phase and to Phase 5 together.
“As of today, Illinoisans are a full year into the health pandemic,” DeWitte said. “During the last 12 months the Governor has issued 76 individual Executive Orders, and during that time legislators have been offered exactly zero opportunities to provide input on pandemic policy decisions.”
Senator DeWitte and two of his Senate colleagues penned a guest editorial about the issue, and it was published by Shaw Media on March 18. You can read the op-ed here.