The Forest Preserve District has increased the capacity limit for picnic shelter rentals and field trip programs due to the state's removal of special COVID-19 mitigation measures on Friday, September 18.
The new restrictions were announced in late August by the state as a result of the resurgence of the disease in Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties. The COVID-19 positivity rate had been higher than 8 percent for three consecutive days.
But the positivity rate has come down and the extra restrictions, which banned indoor dining and bar service as well as reduced gatherings to 25 people or less, were deemed no longer necessary.
According to a press release issued by the governor's office on Friday, September 18:
"As of today, Region 7 has reached the threshold to lift mitigations of three consecutive days of a rolling positivity rate below 6.5 percent, with today's rate at 5.6 percent. This means that as of 5 p.m. today, indoor dining and bar service can resume along with larger gathering sizes as outlined in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan."
The Forest Preserve's picnic permit capacity limit has been increased from 25 back to 50. Also, field trip capacities returned to 50 people maximum.
While capacities have been increased again, the Forest Preserve District urges everyone to abide by all Phase Four restrictions, as well as the advice from health experts to:
Wear masks if you can't maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from others. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Bring hand sanitizer with you if you can't wash your hands with soap and water. Use disinfecting wipes on surfaces that may have been touched by others. Choose to visit outdoor recreational sites that are less crowded or go at a time when there will be fewer people at the same location.
Forest Preserve dog parks, preserves, trails, parking lots, latrines, water fountains and visitor centers remain open. Inside programs and meetings continue to be limited to 10. Visitor centers remain open, with reduced capacity; however, all patrons who stop by are asked to wear masks for the safety of employees and other visitors.
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