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Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 - Updated 1/19/2021

Today’s update discusses:

  • Illinois’ move into Phase 1B of vaccine rollout
  • Some regions moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2
  • Chicago extending the stay at home order
  • Multiple Illinois schools returning to in-person learning
  • Sangamon County Judge deciding in favor of Governor Pritzker
  • Lawyers asking state’s highest court to decide lawfulness of Illinois’ indoor dining ban


  • Illinois has administered over 400,000 vaccine doses and is preparing to administer Phase 1B of its vaccine rollout. While Phase 1A of the rollout prioritized health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities, Phase 1B will prioritize persons aged 65 years or older and non-health care frontline essential workers.


  • Governor Pritzker announced that Illinois regions could move from Tier 3 to Tier 2 restrictions as long as the following metrics are met:
    • Seven-day positivity rate of 12% or lower for three consecutive days
    • Availability of 20% or greater of staffed ICU and general hospital beds for three consecutive days
    • Decline in number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on seven days of a 10-day span.

Pritzker has acknowledged three regions qualified to move into Tier 2 mitigations: Regions 2, 3, and 7. These regions rolled back from Tier 3 mitigations earlier this month.

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has extended the city’s stay-at-home order, which is now effective through Friday, January 22. While those going back to work and school and performing “other essential activities” are encouraged to continue to do so, Mayor Lightfoot announced the order and advisory is essentially “about making sure that we’re doing everything that we can to give people the best information.”


  • The first round of selected students in Chicago Public Schools have returned to their classrooms in an effort to eventually transition all students back to in-person learning. According to Mayor Lightfoot, the district has spent about $8.5 million to equip every classroom and front office with filters, masks, and other equipment used for the safety of student and staff.
  • Naperville District 203 will be returning to in-person learning later this month, with the option to take a COVID-19 saliva test once a week. The school hopes the majority of students and staff will consent to participate in an effort to make in-person learning safe for everyone.
  • Springfield public schools voted to return to hybrid learning, with the school board president suggesting the district is better prepared than it was in the fall. The district is currently working on a plan to offer rapid COVID-19 tests when necessary and ensuring buildings are set up in a way that meets social distancing and other public health requirements.


  • In late December, Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow ruled against Clay County’s Judge McHaney stating that the “state’s police powers do authorize measures to be implemented to protect its citizen when confronted with threats to public health and safety.” Ultimately, Judge Grischow vacated Judge McHaney’s July 2, 2020, order and granted summary judgment as to Counts II and III of the complaint.
  • Some lawyers have appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court to decide if the ban on indoor dining is unlawful. The court had not yet agreed to take the case. In the meantime, restaurants continue to find ways to make outdoor dining work during the cold winter months.
  • As the first term of 2021 begins in the Illinois Supreme Court, the court announced it will hear oral arguments via Zoom while continuing to practice social distancing during the ongoing pandemic. Chief Justice Anne M. Burke stated that the court strives “to ensure access to justice while maintaining the health and safety of everyone in the court system.”


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