Governor okays the opening of non-essential businesses, many can reopen on May 1

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced today that he will extend the state's stay-at-home order set to expire on April 30 until the end of May. The extension did however come with a relaxation in a few restrictions.

"Make no mistake, Illinois has saved lives. By staying home and social distancing, we have kept our infection and death rates for the months of March and April thousands below the rates projected had we not implemented these mitigation strategies," Gov. Pritzker said.

The number of confirmed cases in Champaign County is at an even 100 patients. Seventy-nine people have recovered and five members of the community have died as a result of the CV-19 virus. As of today the Champaign-Urbana Public Health reports there are 16 active cases in the community.

"I know how badly we all want our normal lives back. But this is the part where we have to dig in and understand that the sacrifices we’ve made as a state to avoid a worst-case scenario are working — and we need to keep going a little while longer to finish the job," Gov. Pritzker said in his briefing today.

"If we lifted the stay at home order tomorrow, we would see our deaths per day shoot up into the thousands by the end of May. And, that would last well into the summer."

The modified order includes increased flexibility for residents and non-essential businesses, and will require face coverings to be worn while in public. According to a statement from Gov. Pritzker, the new executive order will include more flexibility provisions for many non-essential businesses to get back on their feet.

Here are some of the changes:

OUTDOOR RECREATION: State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website HERE. Golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and when ensuring that social distancing is followed.

NEW ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirements and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.

NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL: Retail stores not designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.

FACE COVERINGS: Beginning on May 1, individuals will be required to wear a face-covering or a mask when in a public place where they can't maintain a six-foot social distance. Face-coverings will be required in public indoor spaces, such as stores. This new requirement applies to all individuals over the age of two who are able to medically tolerate a face-covering or a mask.

ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND MANUFACTURING: Essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six-feet of social distancing, as well as follow new requirements that maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of employees and customers. This will include occupancy limits for essential businesses and precautions such as staggering shifts and operating only essential lines for manufacturers.

SCHOOLS: Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pick-up of necessary supplies or student belongings. Dormitory move-outs must follow public health guidelines, including social distancing.

Statewide, Illinois reported 1,826 new cases and another 123 deaths from coronavirus today. There have been 36,934 patients who have tested positive for coronavirus in Illinois, including 1,688 lives lost due the viral infection.