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Illinois reopened: What does Phase Five mean to you?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Capacity limits are over in Illinois and more people are getting back to a sense of normal life. Although, that will look different for everyone. The Capitol Bureau spent Friday at the Old State Capitol Plaza asking people what Phase Five means to them.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day. It’s a new life. Illinois, how do you feel?

“People are going to be a lot happier now that we’re back to normal,” said Phil Dasso.

“It definitely brings back that sense of community, you know? When people are out and about and interacting,” said Ronni Norton. “And that’s super important for your well being.”

Norton says Phase Five is a fresh start and a time to rebuild communities with new sustainable places to live. And some, like Tom Shafer, are just happy to get back to exercising without masks on.

“I knew a brighter day would come,” Shafer said. “I just didn’t know when. But, I’m just glad it’s right now and I hope it lasts. I’m sure it will.”

A birthday gift Tom will never forget – a bike ride through downtown Springfield seeing people enjoying the day Illinois returned to normal.

“I’ve enjoyed every bike ride I’ve ever taken,” Shafer explained. “But seeing your town look like a morgue is depressing, even on a reasonably pleasurable bike ride. So, this is much better.”

For Dasso, the long wait is finally over and he won’t have to turn to curbside pickup for groceries anymore.

“Now that we are in Phase Five and even before then when I was fully vaccinated, I felt that freedom. I went back to doing the things that I was doing before.

Freedom, family time, and a time to unite…

“There’s definitely a sense of freedom that I think is kind of buzzing in the air right now. What are we going to do without freedom,” Norton asked. “You know? That’s my question.”

Happiness, freedom, a breath of fresh air. People have different ways of looking at Phase Five, but we all know it’s a new day.

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Mike Miletich

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