The latest reopening updates for Illinois museums and zoos

Latest reopening updates for Illinois museums and zoos

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), who is leading re-opening guidance efforts for the state in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health, has advised that per the Executive Order issued on May 29 outlining the movement of the State into Phase 3, museums and zoos should remain closed in Phase 3. Reopening cannot be considered statewide until Phase 4, which we anticipate could begin as early as late June (dependent upon health metrics and outcomes).

Because museums and zoos are places where attendees spend extended periods of time, and lingering or gathering may occur in group sizes greater than 10 despite best efforts, museums, zoos, and other public places of amusement are more consistent with the activities included in Phase 4. Exceptions will not be made on an individual institutional basis. Retail and restaurants associated with museums may follow their own respective state level reopening guidelines.

We must put public health first, and that means the safety and peace of mind of attendees and employees alike. The determination of moving from Phase 3 to Phase 4 will be driven by the COVID-19 positivity rate in each region and other key measures, which are detailed at this link.

Local governments have every right to establish stricter guidance as they see fit, but state precedent is the benchmark. That being said, if Illinois moves into Phase 4 as a state but specific cities or localities are still in Phase 3, and those cities/localities decide to let museums open, that would be allowable as long as they stayed consistent with guidance from both the state and the city. (This may well be the case in the City of Chicago, for example)

We will continue to advocate for the critical role of cultural institutions across our state and will pass along published guidelines for museums and other creative sector organizations as soon as it is available. We will also provide any possible resources for specific reopening questions.

If you have questions, direct support is available through the DCEO Business Hotline Monday through Friday at 1-800-252-2923, or email at: ceo.support@illinois.gov. Updates are also provided through the DCEO email list.