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Child-care centers can reopen as soon as next week under new Illinois COVID-19 guidance

Belleville News-Democrat - 5/22/2020

May 22--Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced safety guidelines on Friday that Illinois child-care facilities may use to reopen as soon as next week.

"Illinois has not seen significant transmission in child-care settings, which is encouraging that child care can be provided safely," Pritzker said. "However, public health experts note that there is still much we need to learn about the virus, its impact on children, and how it spreads."

The governor asked "all of the currently closed licensed" child-care centers to reopen as the state prepares to move into phase three of the governor's Restore Illinois plan after May 29. Restaurants will be allowed to offer outdoor dining and nonessential retail can reopen, as can salons and barbershops.

Under the governor's original plan, nonemergency child-care centers would not be allowed to reopen until phase four, which won't begin until late June at the earliest. But he said the state recognized the need to allow child care for employees returning to work at the end of May.

Only 10 children will be allowed per classroom in the first four weeks of operation while they adjust to safety guidelines, Pritzker said, after which they can begin to expand class sizes. The maximum occupancy will be about 30% less than pre-pandemic numbers.

Children under 2 years old and older children who aren't medically able will not be required to wear masks.

There will be no restrictions on who can use child-care services.

The governor's office will release safety guidelines for other industries before the state moves into phase three, the governor said.

Public health officials announced 2,758 new cases of coronavirus statewide, including 110 additional deaths, for a total of 105,444 cases and 4,715 deaths.


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