Chicago's reopening plan has always differed from the Illinois framework, and this afternoon Mayor Lori Lightfoot reiterated that the city won't be moving into Phase 3 on May 29, like much of the rest of the state. Instead, city officials are hoping to confirm declines in case rates among all race-ethnicity groups, testing positivity rates and hospital admissions continue their trajectory in the coming weeks, indicating that Chicago is at the beginning of a downward trend.
Mayor Lightfoot wouldn't provide an exact date for Chicago to move into Phase 3 of its reopening plan, but she said that she's hopeful it could happen in early June rather than later in the month. "Early June means to me not the 10th—something sooner than that, and hopefully in the single digits of June," Lightfoot said. She also acknowledged that the transition to the next phase is not guaranteed, stating "we will remain in phase two if those numbers take a different turn."
When Chicago moves into Phase 3, many of the same guidelines currently in place will remain, including the use of face coverings in public places, maintaining 6 feet of social distance from others when possible and remaining at home if you feel sick. Non-business gatherings of 10 or fewer people will be allowed in Phase 3, but all of the previously mentioned guidelines will apply to those gatherings (during yesterday's press conference, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health Dr. Allison Arwady explained that individuals must still carefully consider the safety of themselves and others when gathering).
The arrival of Phase 3 will allow many local businesses, services and facilities to reopen to customers, most notably Chicago's restaurants and coffee shops, which will be able to operate with outdoor seating. Lightfoot also wants to find a way to let customers indoors, saying "I just think we've got to open up the opportunity for indoor dining with, again, some very tight controls because these businesses are starving, and many of them will not survive unless we throw them a lifeline." While bars throughout the state will be able to reopen patios and outdoor seating in Phase 3 of the Illinois plan, bars are excluded from Phase 3 of Chicago's framework and the Mayor did not provide an explanation for this discrepancy.
In the coming week, officials will provide industry-specific guidelines (which will be posted on the city's website) for all businesses that offer clear direction on how to keep employees and customers safe. The guidelines are the result of discussions with 10 sector working groups made up of more than 100 industry representatives. The city is also setting up a PPE market made up of local vendors, so that businesses can easily purchase face coverings, hand sanitizers and barriers in preparation for reopening.
Here's a list of all of the businesses and activities that will reopen in Phase 3 of Chicago's plan with limited capacity and new safety guidelines:
- Childcare centers (including in-home childcare)
- Park facilities (everything west of Lake Shore Drive)
- Office-based jobs
- Professional services
- Real estate services
- Outdoor attractions (including non-lakefront golf courses)
- Non-essential retail stores
- Personal services (barbershops and hair/nail salons)
- Restaurants and coffee shops (outdoor dining)
Mayor Lightfoot singled out the following businesses and activities as ones that may be able to open later in Phase 3, if proper safety measures and capacity limits can be put in place:
- Summer programs and youth activities
- Religious services
- The lakefront and beaches
- Boating (without congregation, sorry Playpen enthusiasts)
The following businesses won't be able to reopen in Phase 3 according to Mayor Lightfoot:
- Bars and lounges
- Large venues (stadiums, theaters, music venues, convention centers)
We'll have more information about the new safety guidelines and capacity limits being applied to Chicago businesses during the Phase 3 reopening next week. In the meantime, Mayor Lightfoot is urging Chicagoans to adhere to the "stay-at-home" order until it expires on May 30, adding that "a lot depends on the steps you take between now and then."
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