SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) says Gov. J. B. Pritzker has created what he terms a Bridge Phase to lifting mitigations, announcing on March 18 that Phase 5, which would more fully reopen Illinois, has been delayed AGAIN.
“The Governor appears to have altered his own Restore Illinois Plan, which clearly states that normal operations are based on ‘Either a vaccine is developed to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, a treatment option is readily available that ensures health care capacity is no longer a concern, or there are no new cases over a sustained period.’ It appears those conditions are being met,” Tracy said. “COVID-19 positivity rates continue to decline, and vaccination numbers and hospital capacity continue to increase. So why is the Governor changing his plan and keeping the state from moving forward to Phase 5? Businesses and families need a path to normalcy.”
According to the Governor’s plan, the newly created Bridge Phase will kick in once 70 percent of people 65 and older have received at least one vaccination dose, ICU bed availability remains at 20 percent or greater, and there is a non-increasing trend in COVID-19 hospital admissions and mortality rate. Metrics would be monitored for 28 days before the state can move forward. To advance to Phase 5, the state must reach a 50 percent vaccination rate for residents ages 16 and over and meet the same metrics and rates required to enter the transition phase, over an additional 28-day period.
While the Governor claims these new mitigation measures are based on science and data, Tracy says he has not provided that specific data he is using, nor has he empowered local health officials to adapt the standards to best meet the needs of their communities.
Lawmakers have continually pushed for increased transparency from the Pritzker Administration, including access to data the Governor has used to make his decisions. They have also continued to ask the Governor to involve lawmakers in making decisions that involve nearly every aspect of Illinoisans’ daily lives. Instead, Gov. Pritzker has chosen to operate unilaterally through 76 individual Executive Orders.