While many parts of the country continue to struggle with containing COVID-19, Illinois has shifted its plan to get Illinois back to normal. As you may recall, Governor Pritzker’ plan called ‘Restore Illinois’ originally split Illinois into 4 regions. By splitting into 4 regions, the idea is that one region would not affect another regions status. Well, now that we have been in Phase 4 for three weeks now, the Governor has a new plan that involves further splitting Illinois. This post will go over what the new regions look like, and why this plan has received praise and criticism.
The Illinois 11
Since Illinois is such a large, long state it makes sense to split it into regions. It’s no secret that the people from Illinois feel vastly different from each other. Many people from central and southern Illinois do not feel Chicago should affect them. For example just last year, some Illinois legislatures tried separating Chicago from Illinois.
Essentially, that is the driving force behind the Governor’s new ‘Restore Illinois’ plan which splits Illinois into 11 regions. The previous four region split was effective for a time but still grouped up too many towns/countries with each other. Although we never faced any kind of setbacks thus far, Chicago is on the verge of going back to Phase 3. The 11 region split means if Chicago does move backwards, the surrounding suburbs and regions would not.
As reported in the Sun-times, Mayor Lightfoot warns Chicagoans that she will move the city backwards if cases continue to surge. While city officials blame younger people for the recent surge, surely they are not the only group ignoring safety guidelines. In fact, it was the city’s decision to allow bars and restaurants to have indoor dining and congregate indoors.
Not surprisingly, even slightly intoxicated people tend to congregate closer together and for longer. And when people eat and drink, their masks come off, which helps the disease spread. Perhaps instead of moving Chicago back into Phase 3 of ‘Restore Illinois,’ Mayor Lightfoot should consider ending indoor dining and other indoor activities opened in Phase 4.
Not Everyone Is A Critic
In a separate article by the Sun-times, the layout and breakdown of Governor Pritzker’s plan had some interesting praise. Certain legislator’s mentioned in the article were and continue to be critics of Governor Pritzker but like where his plan is headed.
As mentioned earlier, a major criticism of ‘Restore Illinois’ is that it grouped too many towns and counties with each other. Had one part of a region failed, the entire region would have moved backwards. However, with the 11-region split, things feel more local. Now that regions are smaller and almost individualized, some critics are warming up to the plan.
What You Can Do To Prevent Moving Backwards
If you live in the city, or in any of the regions on the verge of moving backwards, you may be wondering how you can help prevent that. For one, wear a mask when appropriate. More and more data is showing how effective masks are at stopping the spread. In fact, Business Insider put out an article about which masks types are the most effective.
Another way you can help ‘Restore Illinois’ is by getting tested if you feel you may have symptoms of COVID-19. Illinois has plenty of testing sites that will test you regardless of symptoms. Lastly, you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by avoiding risky situations, such as indoor dining. Just because Phase 4 says it’s ok does not necessarily mean it’s safe.