The Washington County Health Department announced that the county is close to moving into Phase 4 of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan.
WCHD Elizabeth Lehde said in a press release that she is anticipating moving to Phase 4 on Friday, June 26
“This phase will allow gatherings up to 50, dine-in restaurants with limited seating capacity and sanitation practices, as well as other expansions of activities,” the release said. “We are waiting on guidance to come down from the State offices and will pass information along accordingly as we receive it.”
Lehde also advised that it will be important to continue to be safe and smart moving forward, but that the county’s diligence has been effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19.
“Washington County has done a great job so far, and we appreciate your cooperation and patience during these difficult times,” she said in the statemnt.
WCHD has confirmed a total of 19 cases in the county since the start of the pandemic, and currently no active cases are being followed by the Health Department.
A total of 518 negative results have been reported to the department at this time, and no county resident has died of COVID-19.
The health department also advised that the county has not yet moved into Phase 4, and that dining indoors prior to an announcement is prohibited.
“As we near the end of Phase 3, our indoor eating establishments are anxious to open their doors once again,” said Will Summers of WCHD. “Although the specific requirements regarding what comes next are yet uncertain, it is likely that Phase 4 guidelines will set limits to indoor dining.”
Plans for Phase 4 will allow restaurants to open with capacity limits and safety guidance, such as enhanced sanitation, distance spacing between customers and wearing facemasks.
According to the WCHD statement, until the limitations posed by the current Illinois Recovery Plan expire, the public is advised to continue adhere to Phase 3 limits and to take all efforts to reduce COVID-19 infection.
“Please continue to avoid crowded conditions and practice social distancing, wear facemasks whenever social distancing is not practical,” Summers advised. “Avoid persons who are ill and see your doctor if you become ill. Only with the continued help from all county residents and food establishments will our county continue to resist the spread of this deadly disease.”
For more information, contact the Washington County Health Department or a local medical practitioner.
Phase 4 will likely last an extended period, since Phase 5 will not start until a vaccine has been developed. Phase 5 would lift all restrictions.