On March 18, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced a metrics-based, vaccination-informed framework for Illinois to advance to Phase 5 of the state's Restore Illinois Planwhat a press release called "our new normal."
In recognition of an increasing national vaccine supply and the state now averaging 100,000 vaccine administrations per day, Pritzker also announced that all Illinois residents age 16+ will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday, April 12, with additional announcements to come about populations who will be made eligible prior to universal eligibility.
Currently, every region of the state is in Phase 4 of the five-phase Restore Illinois mitigation plan, with Phase 5 being a post-pandemic normalcy.
The newly announced metrics offer Illinois a bridge between the state's current Phase 4 restrictions and the "new normal" operations of Phase 5. This "Bridge Phase" will serve as a transition period with higher capacity limits and increased business operations, without prematurely embracing a reckless reopening before the majority of Illinoisans have been vaccinated.
The bridge to Phase 5 allows for higher capacity limits at places like museums, zoos and spectator events as well as increased business operations. As with all mitigations the administration has implemented to combat the virus to date, the Bridge Phase is based on science and was developed by health experts.
To prevent a large increase in new COVID-19 cases, Illinois will revert to an earlier phase if, over the course of 10 days, the state experiences an increasing trend in COVID-19 and COVID-like illness hospital admissions, a decrease in ICU bed availability, an increase in the mortality rate and an increasing case rate.
Currently, all vaccines are administered by appointment only. While vaccine eligibility is expanding April 12, making an appointment to receive a shot may take time. Information regarding vaccination locations as well as details on how to book an appointment to receive the vaccine can be found at the state's COVID website, coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/. Residents who don't have access to or need assistance navigating online services can call the toll-free IDPH hotline at 833-621-1284 to book an appointment. The hotline is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight, with agents available in English and Spanish.