Under the restrictions, indoor service at restaurants and bars will not be allowed
JACKSON COUNTY, Ill — Southern Illinois, including Perry and Jackson counties, will see tightened COVID-19 restrictions starting Thursday due to a rise in positivity rates, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced during a briefing in Murphysboro Monday.
Under the restrictions, indoor dining and bar service will not be allowed and gatherings will be limited to 25 people in Region 5.
The area’s sustained positivity rate is 9.1%, above the state’s threshold of 8%.
“Things have changed,” Pritzker said. “Every region of the state has started to move in the wrong direction. Cases, positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths are rising statewide.”
Region 5 joins Region 1 in northwest Illinois, which is also under tightened restrictions. Pritzker cited an increase in positivity rates in every region in the state and said other regions may soon see increased restrictions.
“The state is headed in the wrong direction,” said Illinois Department of Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “It’s partially because people are not worried about this anymore.”
Ezike said it is important for people to not be complacent, especially as the weather gets colder and more people move indoors for activities.
She stressed the importance of practicing social distancing, wearing masks and hygiene.
The Metro East, which is in Region 4, was under the tightened restrictions for weeks due to increased positivity rates. Restrictions were loosened earlier this month once the positivity rate started to lower.
Soon after the announcement, Illinois Republicans sent a statement, saying the restrictions are unnecessary.
“I continue to be frustrated by Governor Pritzker’s misguided focus on an arbitrary positivity rate threshold that is neither meaningful nor reliable as an assessment of the actual local situation,” said State Sen. Paul Schimpf, who represents Waterloo. “These mitigations, which will close businesses and destroy livelihoods, should only be used when the hospitalization rates and ICU bed capacity data clearly show that it is absolutely necessary.”