Illinois governor says churches may stay closed for a year or more

Illinois churches could be prohibited from meeting for more than year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Wednesday.

Pritzker announced a five-phase plan to reopen Illinois that includes guidance for schools, businesses, and churches that outlines when they will be able to reopen. Gatherings of more than 10 people will be allowed to reopen in phase 3, gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed in phase 4, and gatherings of more than 50 people will be allowed in phase five.

Pritzker confirmed during a press conference on Wednesday that churches will be held to the same standard and will not be allowed to reopen until phase five.

“You know that in phase three, there can be gatherings, church gatherings, of 10 or fewer. In phase four, 50 or fewer. So that’s the guidance that’s been given to me,” Pritzker said. “I’m not the one providing that guidance. It really is what the scientists and epidemiologists are recommending.”

The state entered phase two on Friday and will enter phase three on May 29 at the earliest, Pritzker said. Phase five can begin when a vaccine or highly effective therapeutic drug is released. A vaccine is estimated to be between 12 and 18 months away.

by Jordyn Pair