Illinois Health Regions

(Photo provided)

All health regions in the state of Illinois move into the next phase of reopening on Friday, which means indoor dining, youth sports, gatherings of up to 50 people, museums, theaters, fitness centers, bowling alleys and other places can open with limited capacity. 

Locally, the Kendall County Health Department issued some guidance as more people decide to go out. 

In general, health department officials say the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Officials advise that if you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself and your loved ones by practicing everyday preventative actions.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued cautious optimism about moving into the next phase as some other states around the country are seeing a spike in cases.

Pritzker says if cases begin to spike in Illinois, he will not hesitate to move regions back to tighter restrictions. 

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced that a state tool has now been established to indicate warnings based on county. 

Kendall and other local counties remain blue while Cass County is currently the only county in the orange. 

In regard to reopening, one element for those looking to enjoy the outdoors will be some parks and playgrounds. 

City of Plano officials said this week that playgrounds will reopen but social distancing guidelines are still in effect.  Area city and park district playgrounds may have additional posted rules. 

Many skate parks, dog parks, basketball courts and ball fields will open. 

Currently, many splash pads remain closed but could reopen soon. For example, the Sandwich Park District posted that pools, splash pads, and aquatic centers must follow IDPH guidelines in Phase 4 but guidelines have not yet been released and they are awaiting guidance. 

Several local aquatic centers have already chosen to close for the entire season, meaning splash pads could be among limited options available. 

While indoor dining is reopening, the Voluntary Action Center says the Illinois Department on Aging is recommending congregate meal sites for seniors not reopen yet, so the sites at Fox Valley Community Services in Sandwich and Taylor Street Plaza and the Community Center in DeKalb will remain closed.

VAC Executive Director Ellen Rogers says they “are not in any hurry” since the health of the seniors is their “greatest concern.” Rogers says it’s going to take a lot of planning and preparation to ensure safety before congregate dining can reopen.

Even without dining sites, VAC is still serving more seniors. Seniors receiving meals through VAC has tripled since early March. They’re receiving Meals on Wheels, shelf-stable meals and emergency meal kits.