Updates on cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local governments

Subscribe by Email

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a Reader

Follow Municipal Minute on Twitter


Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Summary of Phase 4 Recreation Guidelines

Effective June 26, 2020, new DCEO guidance governs various recreation activities during “Phase 4” of Illinois’ reopening plan. This includes guidance for indoor and outdoor recreation, youth and recreational sports, golf, tennis, health and fitness centers, and day camps. The Illinois Department of Public Health also issued long-awaited Phase 4 swimming guidance on the same day, while DCEO advised the Illinois Association of Park Districts that while indoor playgrounds must remain closed, local governments have discretion to open outdoor playgrounds subject to a 50-person capacity limit and other applicable IDPH guidance. 

Highlights from the most-recent recreation guidelines are summarized below.

Indoor and Outdoor Recreation

Under the guidelines, a non-exhaustive list of indoor and outdoor recreation facilities may open, including arcades, ice skating rinks, and driving ranges. Amusement parks, trampoline parks, and indoor playgrounds should remain closed. Among other things, permitted indoor and outdoor recreation facilities should:

  • Display signage at entry with face covering requirements, social distancing guidelines, cleaning protocols, and any reduced capacity limit.
  • Ensure at least 6-ft. between any stations for individual recreation activities.
  • Configure locker rooms and showers with signage, tape, and other markings to ensure members can maintain 6-ft. of social distance.
  • Operate at the lesser of 50 customers or 50% of capacity.
  • Limit group sizes to 50 people and only allow multiple groups at once if:

o   Facilities allow for social distancing of customers and employees;
o   30-ft. of distancing is maintained between groups; and
o   Areas for each group are clearly marked to discourage interaction between groups.


  • Indoor playgrounds must remain closed.
  • Local governments are provided the discretion to reopen outdoor playgrounds, so long as:

o   no more than 50 persons are present at the playground; and
o   social distancing and other applicable IDPH guidelines are followed.

Swimming Facilities

Swimming facilities licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health may reopen under the guidelines during Phase 4, including swimming pools, water parks, splashpads, and beaches.

  • Capacity is limited to 50%.
  • Group sizes are limited to 50 people, allowing for social distancing where possible.
  • Operators should have employee and customer temperature checks upon entry to the facility and at mid-shift for employees.
  • Operators, employees, and customers should wear face coverings when not engaged in swimming activities, with exceptions for children younger than the age of 2 and for those with medical conditions
  • Rafts, tubes, lounge chairs, or other shared equipment must be sanitized between each us
  • Multiple groups of 50 people may be permitted if:

o   social distancing is practiced;
o   30-ft. of distance is maintained between groups;
o   and areas for each group are clearly marked to discourage interaction between groups.
Youth and Recreational Sports

Organization operating recreational sport activities should:

  • Enforce social distancing guidelines as much as feasible during gameplay
  • Any additional team members not participating in gameplay should sit on the sidelines 6-ft. apart from one another
  • Designate areas for spectators with existing seating capped at 20% of capacity and ensure at least 6-ft. between sets occupied by spectators that are not members of the same household.


Golf is permitted in accordance with the updated guidelines, including:

  • Two people are permitted to ride together in a cart, with face coverings required if they do not live in the same household.
  • Group activities (outings, league play, and other organized events) and shotgun starts are permitted. Golf courses should develop procedures to ensure that individuals do no congregate in groups excess of 50 before or after the activity.


Indoor and outdoor tennis facilities may resume operations in accordance with the new guidance which provides, among other things:

  • Public tennis courts should have gates roped off or left open to prevent touching.
  • Employees should wear face coverings when within 6-ft. of others and players should wear face coverings whenever not exercising.
  • If social distancing cannot be maintained during game play, participants should still maintain 6-ft. of distancing whenever not directly involved in gameplay.

Day Camps

The new guidance allows operations of day camps, such as recreational day camps, educational day camps, and religious day camps not licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services. However, overnight camps are not permitted. Day camps should:

  • If day camp is based outdoors, enough available indoor space should be secured to accommodate all participants (in adherence with guidelines around 6-ft. of distancing and 15 or fewer participants per group).
  • For indoor facilities, a maximum of 50% of facility capacity is permitted.
  • Group sizes should be limited to 15 participants or less (only 10 children in programs with changing participants week-by-week).
  • Multiple groups permitted of 15 or less so long as:

o   Facilities allow for social distancing of all participants and employees;
o   30-ft. of distancing is maintained between groups; and
o   Areas for each group are clearly marked to discourage interaction between groups.

Health and Fitness Centers

New guidelines apply to customer-facing facilities engaging in health and fitness services, including gyms, fitness centers, and yoga, dance, cycling, pilates, and barre studios. These guidelines include:

  • Fitness centers should configure workout stations or implement protocols (e.g., decommissioning equipment) to allow for 6-ft. social distancing between individuals without barrier OR 3-ft. apart with barriers).
  • Ancillary accommodations, such as saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms, should be closed.
  • Fitness centers should operate at no more than 50% of occupancy at any given time.
  • Fitness classes should allow for 6-ft. of social distancing without barrier or 3-ft. with barrier between participants and are limited to a maximum of 50 participants.
  • Multiple groups permitted in a space at once as long as:

o   Facilities allow for social distancing of participants and employees;
o   30-ft. of distancing is maintained between groups;
o   Areas of each group are clearly marked to discourage interaction between groups.

Post Authored by Daniel J. Bolin and Rain Montero


Post a Comment