BELLEVILLE, Ill.– Illinois is marking a major milestone today in its fight against COVID-19; the state officially reopened today.
The state moved into Phase 5 which means no more capacity limits on businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and all other venues.
Illinois officials say more than 68 percent of residents 18 and older are fully vaccinated.
Gov. JB Pritzker says the state is on track to meet President Joe Biden’s July 4 goal of making sure 70 percent of adults received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
At Copper Fire Bar and Restaurant in Belleville, workers are excited to welcome back guests at full capacity.
“We are ecstatic for everyone, the entire industry, not just us, including sales. It’s a really great thing for all of us. We need to get living life. It’s really nice to see everyone’s face and see how happy they are. It’s been long overdue,” said Mary Gutzler from Copper Fire Bar and Restaurant.
Other shops along Main Street are also ready to welcome back patrons. Bennie Parr from Bennie’s Pizza Pub said he is overjoyed to see customers in a full house celebrating while grabbing a slice.
“It’s fantastic that businesses can go back to fully being opened with little to no restrictions. It’s going to be a game changer. A lot of restaurants and businesses have been struggling,” said Bennie Parr.
Metro East residents say being together has been long overdue.
“People are free to go about their way. You feel the excitement in the air. I do health care and a lot of my clients are relieved now that vaccines have come out. You still have the pros and cons, but people are relieved to get back to life,” said Mary Ann Wilson, a Belleville resident.