The Phases of Restore Illinois

The state of Illinois began a mandatory shelter-in-place order on March 21, 2020. The stay at home order required non-essential businesses to cease operations which prohibited many people from being able to work as usual. While essential businesses, such as healthcare services, grocery stores, carryout/delivery restaurants, government operations, and other businesses deemed essential remained open, some employers were able to offer remote, or telecommuting, to their employees to try to keep their businesses afloat. Combine the fact most workplaces were not operating as usual along with the fact that entertainment-style businesses, non-essential shopping, recreational facilities, and such were shut down, citizens found themselves at home a whole lot more than ever before. Now, as we are nearing three months since the sheltering in place began, Illinoisans are ready to get back in the saddle again!

Governor JB Pritzker has released industry-specific guidelines called Restore Illinois on May 5, 2020, which created five phases re-opening plan in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Many were excited and ready to go into Phase 3, which permits the safe re-opening of businesses and the people are anxious to try to restore, or gain, a new normal.

Currently, in Phase 3, Illinois has not been free of arguments over the reopening. Many people are anxious for operations to reopen at full capacity while other people are still hesitant due to worries about coronavirus transmission but like with most things in life, a difference in opinion is inevitable.

The Five Phases

In Illinois, the five phases of reopening for each health region are as follows per the Restore Illinois guidelines:

Phase 1 – Rapid Spread: Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines were put in place and only essential businesses remained open.

Phase 2 – Flattening: Non-essential retail stores were able to reopen for curbside pickup and delivery. People are directed to wear a face-covering when outside the home, and could resume additional outdoor activities like golf, boating, and fishing while practicing social distancing. CDC guidelines

Phase 3 – Recovery: Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops, and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions in place. All public gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer people. Face coverings and social distancing are the norms, including the use of face masks when entering any public facility. Restaurants are permitted to allow dine-in service but outdoors only as long as the seating adheres to social distancing guidelines.

Phase 4 – Revitalization: All gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care, and schools can reopen under guidance from the IDPH. Face coverings and social distancing are still the norm.

Phase 5 – Illinois Restored: With a possible vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals, and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidelines and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the plan moves in phases based on metrics gauging the number of cases, the state may need to revert to a previous phase. The plan notes that the “IDPH will be closely monitoring key metrics to immediately identify trends in cases and hospitalizations to determine whether a return to a prior phase may become necessary.”

Regulations during the pandemic against churches and religious organizations took a turn of events and the same are no longer excluded from the right to assembly in Illinois. The City of Chicago has extended some terms of reopening but is moving forward in Phase 3 at this time.

Reopening plans have an unknown factor, that being the willingness of the public to reengage with local businesses with an interesting dynamic in any plan will be the consumer. There are those who think the virus is no longer a severe threat and others who disagree. While an argument can be made that things will never be the same or go back to normal, if anything, this whole experience has taught most of us how to reset and pivot.

If you have specific questions about the phases of reopening, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will provide more details and may be contacted at 1-800-252-2923, or email at

Written by Arriana A. Fleckenstein

We are here to assist you

We are aware that everyone has been affected by the recent response to COVID-19 but we hope that you find some comfort in knowing that we are still operational and here to assist you.

Whether you are a current client or if you are looking for family law or estate planning assistance, our team is here for you and will continue to be available to address your concerns.

To the extent possible, we will offer remote consultations and provide services from a distance.

You may message us here, email our office at, or call 815-600-8950 and one of our team members will be able to assist you.

This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

Recent Posts

Is Adult Guardianship an Option for Your Child?

As a parent, ensuring the well-being of your child is a lifelong commitment. For some parents, this includes making decisions about adult guardianship when their child reaches the age of 18. In Illinois, there are specific laws and guidelines that can help you...