ILLINOIS — A day after California — one of the states hardest hit by the coronavirus — announced it will fully reopen on June 15, Patch readers in Illinois seem to want the same thing for our home state.
More than 4,200 readers responded to Patch’s survey, and most felt that the state is reopening too slowly. More than 63 percent felt that way, but there was a sizeable group of readers — more than 1,300, or just under 32 percent — who said they do feel that the state is reopening too quickly. Another 4.9 percent said they aren’t sure whether the state is reopening too fast or too slowly.
Others called for Illinois to drop other restrictions, including mask requirements, capacity limits at bars, restaurants and other venues, and restrictions imposed by local schools.
Despite the calls for restrictions to be dropped, many still said mask requirements should be kept.
“Keep the mask mandate for a little while longer, but open everything up,” one Patch reader wrote.
In fact, asked how much longer the state should impose its mask mandate, a plurality — nearly 45 percent, or over 1,900 — said masks should be worn as long as Illinois health officials say they are necessary.
But the second-largest group — around 1,700, or 40 percent of those who responded — were in favor of scrapping the mask mandate entirely right now.
Another 4.6 percent said they envision masks being necessary for four or more months; 4.3 percent said two months; 3.2 percent said just another month; and 2.8 percent said three months.
Readers: Reinstate full capacity
Most readers — nearly 55 percent of those who responded — said they believe current coronavirus capacity limits in bars, restaurants and other venues are too strict.
Another 28.7 percent of readers said they don’t think capacity limits are strict enough, while just under 17 percent weren’t sure how to feel.
“(Illinois) is quickly killing every restaurant business in the state. Get them open at greater capacity,” one reader wrote.
Meanwhile, more than 50 percent said they believe summer events and concerts should resume as usual in 2021.
Readers were very clear about one thing: Most don’t want to see indoor dining close again, even if coronavirus hospitalizations increase.
More than 58 percent were against reinstating bans on indoor dining and drinking, while 31.7 percent said bars and restaurants should close to dine-in patrons if hospitalizations surge. Another 9.9 percent said maybe.