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Pennsylvania — the fifth most populous US state -— will lift almost all its coronavirus restrictions at the end of May, while Illinois — the sixth-most populous — is on track to lift capacity limits on businesses and activities in July.

Capacity restrictions on bars, restaurants as well as indoor and outdoor gatherings in Pennsylvania will be removed on May 31, the Memorial Day public holiday.

However, the current executive order requiring residents to wear face coverings will be lifted when 70 per cent of Pennsylvanians aged 18 and older are fully vaccinated, governor Tom Wolf’s administration said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated on Monday, 41.8 per cent of Pennsylvania adults have completed their Covid-19 vaccine regimens, compared with 40.6 per cent for the US overall.

“We continue to make significant progress in the fight to stop the spread of Covid-19 and as more Pennsylvania adults get vaccinated and guidance from the CDC evolves, we can continue to move forward with our reopening efforts,” Alison Beam, acting secretary at the health department, said.

Pennsylvania has averaged about 25 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 a day over the past week, according to CDC data. That is the fourth-highest rate in the US after Michigan, Colorado and Minnesota and compares to a national seven-day average of about 15 new cases per 100,000 people.

A woman paddles a kayak in Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline in the background
A woman paddles a kayak in Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline in the background © AP

Meanwhile, Illinois is on track to lift capacity limits on businesses and activities in July, officials announced, marking a full reopening of its economy.

The state is in Phase 4 of its reopening plan, but must enter a so-called Bridge Phase before moving to the fifth and final stage, when all businesses are open, non-vulnerable individuals can return to workplaces and most activities can resume with health guidelines in place.

Officials said 55 per cent of residents in the state over the age of 16 had received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. They added that 79 per cent of individuals over the age of 65 had received their first dose, which was above the 70 per cent threshold required by the state to move into the Bridge Phase.

“As these metrics continue to stabilise and decline, the state could soon move into the ‘Bridge Phase’ of the Restore Illinois Reopening Plan,” the leaders said. “Following a 28-day period of continued stability or decline in key Covid-19 metrics, the state would then move into Phase 5, with all capacity limits lifted. The state is on track to be in Phase 5 in July.”

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