‘Until we have … enough widespread immunity that new cases fail to materialize, the option of returning to normalcy does not exist…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Illinois churches will not be allowed to hold services with more than 50 people until a vaccine or some other kind of highly efficient treatment for COVID-19 is developed—or until the state stop seeing new cases, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan.
Pritzker’s newly unveiled plan includes five phases. Large events, festivals, conventions, carnivals and other basic gatherings—including church services—will not be permitted en masse until the final phase, which is still a long way off, Pritzker said.
“It brings me no joy to say this, but based on what the experts tell us and everything we know about this virus and how easily it spreads in a crowd: large conventions, festivals and other major events will be on hold until we reach phase five,” he explained during a press conference this week.
The fifth phase can only be implemented when scientists develop a widely-available vaccine for the coronavirus, or if an “extremely effective” treatment is developed to shorten the duration of the virus.
Pritzker said he understands the “urge to try and flip the switch” to reopen, but argued that without a vaccine “that switch simply does not exist.”
“Until we have a vaccine, or an effective treatment, or enough widespread immunity that new cases fail to materialize, the option of returning to normalcy does not exist,” he insisted, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order does not end until May 29, which is when he expects several regions in the state to move to Phase 3, dubbed the “recovery” phase.
Phase 3 requires businesses and churches that reopen to use “face coverings as the norm,” and “strongly” encourages companies that can telework to continuing doing so. But businesses and churches still will not be allowed to have more than 10 people within their buildings at a time, according to the reopening plan.
Phase 4, which would allow for the reopening of schools, childcare, and higher education, has similar restrictions, limiting group gatherings in businesses, churches, and other facilities to 50 people or less.