The news coming from Illinois public health officials keeps getting better. Trends in crucial metrics from the state’s hospitals continue to decrease, as does the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. While it’s far from time to rejoice, the state is on track to be ready for the next phase of reducing restrictions and reopening communities for business.

It’s understandable that people in Danville and Vermilion County are most likely counting the days to when more business activity will be permitted. Beginning next Friday, some businesses and workplaces can begin to reopen. That includes beauty salons, barbershops and some retail establishments. Gatherings will still be restricted to 10 people or fewer.

We trust residents will approach the next phase with caution. That’s what has happened in surrounding states. Because people remain vigilant and careful in order to remain safe, there have as yet been no significant upticks in coronavirus infections as people begin to get out and about more.

The bigger reopening phase that will include restaurants and bars is still weeks away. There’s no doubt people are getting itchy to move ahead. In a public health crisis that has sickened and killed so many people in our state and around the world, patience remains a good element of public health policy.

It’s been a long, difficult road to this point. There will be time to relax in the near future. And we’re encouraged to see Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. exploring the possibility of the city putting on a public fireworks display later in the summer. The community will undoubtedly appreciate the opportunity if such an event comes about.

Meanwhile, the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic is as real as ever. With 34 cases and only one death recorded as of midweek, Vermilion County has escaped a harsh outbreak so far. Let’s hope it stays that way. It would not, however, be wise to let down your guard.

“There’s no doubt this is hard,” Gov. JB Pritzker said this week, “but public health means that each of us is working to protect all of us.”

Illinois is making progress. If residents will stay on course, and we’re confident they will, things will get better soon.

Recommended for you