Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker this afternoon announced that Illinois will move toward the bridge phase of the state’s coronavirus mitigation plan on Friday, May 14.

That move will offer higher capacity limits for restaurants, retail shops, weddings and other public gatherings.

And he added that — barring further reversals in the fight against the virus the state could move to Phase 5 — normal business operations — as soon as Friday, June 11.

But he said that the state will still follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines on the use of masks.

Pritzker said the battle against the virus isn’t over — that each day people are still getting sick and being hospitalized with the disease.

But he said progress in vaccinating the state’s population has led to progress in the battle. “The light we can see at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter” as more people are vaccinated, he added.

To further stimulate the vaccination campaign, the governor announced that physicians in doctors’ offices across the state will soon be able to get access to the vaccine to vaccinate patients in their offices. He said over 1,000 offices have signed up already and he encouraged more to do so quickly.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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