MOLINE, Ill. — We are less than one month away from expanded COVID-19 vaccine availability in Illinois.
"I'm directing every jurisdiction that receives allotments of vaccine through the state of Illinois to expand eligibility to all residents 16 and older on Monday, April 12th," said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in a press conference on Thursday.
The governor also unveiled his "Bridge Phase," which he said will help the state transition from "Phase 4" restrictions to the "Phase 5" reopening.
The entire state will go through the "Bridge Phase" together, not in regions like earlier in 2020, according to a press release from the Governor's office. This means more populated areas, like Chicago, will have a bigger impact on Illinois' reopening plans.
The "Bridge Phase" begins when 70 percent of Illinois residents age 65 and older have received a first dose of vaccine, according to the press release.
"It's time to begin to cautiously move toward normalcy," Gov. Pritzker said. "And, it's imperative that we do so in a way that maintains all the progress that we've made to date."
You can see the guidelines and limitations the Governor's office has established below.
Under the governor's new guidance, people who are fully vaccinated do not count against any capacity limits, according to the press release. That means carrying the card received after getting a vaccine may be necessary, if certain venues choose to require proof of vaccination, according to the press release.
"This will allow Illinois to restore normal operations faster without ignoring the risks attendant with the new variants that we see rising around us," Gov. Pritzker said.
The "Bridge Phase" mitigations will be in place until 50 percent of Illinoisans age 16 and up are vaccinated, according to the Governor's office. Once that happens, the state will move in to "Phase 5," according to Thursday's press release.
As of Thursday, about 13 percent of Illinois residents had been fully vaccinated. You can see more vaccine-related data here.