FILE - Gov. J.B. Pritzker, 5-22-20

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces that child care centers will open sooner than he initially planned during a news conference in Springfield on Friday.

(The Center Square) – Child care centers in Illinois have been put on a fast-track to reopen.

During his daily briefing, Gov,. J.B. Pritzker said the 5,500 child care centers not currently operating are being asked to open when their region moves into Phase 3 of his reopening plan, but with restrictions.

“For the first 4 weeks they are open, providers will be able to serve no more than ten children per classroom,” Pritzker said. “Once they have provided care safely for 4 weeks and have gotten accustomed to the new health, social distancing and sanitation routines, they will be able to expand to larger group sizes.”

The governor said most of the state will be moving into Phase 3 of his reopening plan on May 29, and many Illinoisans will be going back to work, so child care will be needed. Daycare centers were initially in Phase 4 for the governor's reopening plan.

Pritzker also said he expects children over the age of two to wear a mask while attending daycare.

The state of Illinois is approaching 5,000 deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. On Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 110 people died in the past 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 4,715.

The department also reported just over 25,000 tests were administered during that time, with 2,758 positive tests.

There have been a total of 105,444 positive cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, the third-highest total in the nation behind New York and New Jersey.

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.