ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – A shift in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could lead to a return of some summertime events in the region with a pre-pandemic look and feel.

“There are additional freedoms that come with that I call it the social benefits to vaccination,” Winnebago County Health Department Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell said.

“Anything that builds confidence and being outdoors as we move forward is a good thing,” Executive Director of Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden Alexander Mills said.

A change in mandates from the CDC now allows fully vaccinated people to enjoy outdoor activities mask-free unless they are in a large crowd.

“Think about having friends over for a barbecue in the backyard, I think many of us have kind of watched over that over last summer, but this summer would be with vaccinated individuals, we can remove our face covering and enjoy that with our fully vaccinated friends and family,” Martell said.

Martell says the shift does not include indoor activities but it is a good sign for events like Rockford City Market and holiday parades.

“It does get easier as things move along and restrictions are lifted to plan for these things so you can have more people come out to visit to explore, it is important that we get back to normal,” Mills said.

“I could see us potentially increasing our amount of class offerings,” General Manager of Rocktown Adventures Kevin Versino said.

Martell believes it is time to prepare for a move to the bridge phase of the Restore Illinois plan, and the road to get there is through vaccination efforts.

“We all have to do our part and to try and get as many of us vaccinated,” Martell said.

Copyright 2021 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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