(The Center Square) – While Illinois businesses and consumers contend with some of the most-restrictive COVID-19 rules in the country, neighboring states are lifting restrictions and opening up further.

On Friday, Indiana entered Phase 4 for its reopening plan with gatherings of up to 250 allowed and 75 percent capacity at dine-in restaurants. Malls and other retail outlets in Indiana can serve consumers at full capacity.

“In Stage 4, Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should remain at home as much as possible,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement. “Face coverings in public places are recommended.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday announced that while local governments can still have public health restrictions in place, the state will lift all restrictions on Tuesday.

“At some point government just has to get out of the way and let people live their lives and regulate their own selves,” Parson said. “We’re at that time in the state of Missouri.”

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has been adamant about his five-phase plan that calls for relaxing some additional restrictions on June 26. Even after that, Illinois will have restrictions on groups over 50 and continued capacity limits on businesses.

State Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, said some Illinois businesses are leaving the governor behind.

“We’re grown-ups,” McCombie said. “We know if we have underlying health issues. We can figure this out at this point. At first? Understandable. But we’re not there anymore.”

As for Illinois’ state fairs, Pritzker told WMAY on Thursday that he couldn't say if there would be an Illinois State Fair this August. 

“We’re making those decisions now, looking at all the data and figuring out what we might do,” the governor said. “I’m sure we’ll be making those announcements shortly.”

Illinois officials made the announcement the fairs in Springfield and DuQuoin were canceled, but there will be modified competitions.

"Due to the cancellations of the fairs, the Department of Agriculture will host a Junior Livestock Expo in Springfield in September, for Illinois exhibitors ages 8-21 to show their animals," the state announced Friday. "The 4-H General Project Show will take place virtually, with premiums and ribbons to be distributed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Details regarding entry and operations are forthcoming."

By Illinois state law, the state fair is supposed to happen in Springfield and DuQuoin annually.

Indiana’s state fair announced a modified livestock show, but the traditional fair will not take place. It’s a different story in Missouri, which removes all statewide COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday. Parson said the state fair will take place, but there will be modifications.

“It’s about youth and agriculture and supporting agriculture, so my direction is get back to those basics, do what you got to do and some of those other things maybe we won’t do,” Parson said.

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.