Pritzker 5 20

(Illinois Governor JB Pritzker video still)

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is making changes to phase three of his reopening plan to ease restrictions on some businesses, including bars and restaurants.

When regions enter phase three, which could be as early as the end of the month, bars and restaurants will be able to open outdoor seating areas. Tables will need to be six feet apart and staff will have to wear masks.

Recreation restrictions are being loosened to allow foursomes and carts for golfing. Boating and camping with up to 10 people will be allowed.

Health clubs, gyms and fitness studios can do one-on-one training inside and outdoor fitness classes with up to 10 people. 

All state parks will reopen and indoor and outdoor tennis facilities can reopen.

Additionally, retail stores, barbershops, salons and nail salons can reopen with capacity limits.

Local governments retain the right to establish stricter restrictions.

Pritzker said that formal industry-specific guidance will be released in the coming days. 

Pritzker has said all regions of the state remain on track to move to phase three of the reopening plan at the end of the month.

Another large announcement was made on Wednesday as Gov. Pritzker announced he was withdrawing his emergency rule regarding potential punishments for businesses who could have been charged with a Class A misdemeanor for violating emergency orders. 

The Illinois legislature will now craft punishment for businesses that violate IDPH health guidelines.

Legislative officials and the Governor both said there will be no jail time associated. There had been differences over whether that meant only a citation with a fine would be applied against a business or if it could result in jail time for owners.

Democratic Senator Bill Cunningham, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, said legislation is expected to be review this week. 

Pritzker had presented the misdemeanor charge as a less severe alternative to a business losing their license or receiving a closure order if they opened earlier than allowed in his Restore Illinois plan.

Several GOP legislators, who presented opposition and called for legislative input, were mostly pleased with the removal and argued that public pressure led to the change. Many said it was a step in the right direction. 

Local reaction, so far: