COVID Chicago: City moving to Phase 5 with rest of Illinois, Mayor Lightfoot says

COVID Chicago: City moving to Phase 5 with rest of Illinois, Mayor Lightfoot says


CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago will move into the next phase of easing COVID restrictions along with the rest of the state on June 11.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot mad the the announcement during a Facebook Live with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Alison Arwady Thursday morning.

Gov. JB Pritzker has previously said Illinois remains on track to fully reopen on June 11. Now Lightfoot agrees Chicago can, too.

The mayor previously set a July 4 goal of reopening for the city.

In restaurants, tables no longer have to be 6 feet apart and they can operate a full capacity, a much-needed lifeline for an industry that has suffered more than most.

“It’s almost too good to be true, but from a believable standpoint we are done,” said Scott Weiner of the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group.

Weiner said his staff is all full vaccinated, so come June 11 they will be allowed to take off their masks, and patrons who are fully vaccinated can as well.

“We are using our reservation system to find if parties are fully vaccinated,” he said.

At Norman’s Bistro in Kenwood, the news gave welcome relief.

“To operate at 100 percent capacity is amazing,” said owner Norman Bolden. “To say the very least.”

At Second City, masks guidelines will remain in place for now. The theater company will review its COVID precautions in the days to come. For the past few weeks they’ve seen selling out at a little le3ss than 60% capacity, and actors are looking forward to playing to a full crowd.

“They what more people in the theater more laughs is good feedback, so we are ready for the next steps,” said Collen Fahey, VP of marketing and sales.

Other venues are being more cautious. The Metro’s doors have been closed for more than 450 days. Founder Joe Shanahan is anxious to reopen, but his goal is to have banks booked and audiences back by Lollapalooza.

“We felt strongly about making sure we were further along with vaccines and it’s been a message we are trying to make with the city,” he said.

Still, it’s the light at the end of a long, long tunnel.

“No one gave us a playbook on how to operate a business without revenue. It’s an unsustainable position that we’re in, and today’s news is good news,” Shanahan said.

As part of the reopening announcement, Lightfoot called on 18 to 24-year-old Black Chicagoans to step up and get vaccinated.

“For those of you still on the sidelines and a little skeptical, we’re rolling out a whole new array of incentives to get to that 70% threshold,” the mayor said.

Chicago announced an update to the city’s COVID-19 travel order Tuesday with all states now in the yellow tier.

The update means that all travelers can come into Chicago without the need to quarantine or test negative for COVID-19.

This is the first time since the travel order was first issued in July 2020 that no states are on the quarantine list.

“We’re really doing very, very well,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Dept. of Public Health. “The vaccine has been performing beautifully here in the real world.”

The update comes as no states are reporting the 15 cases per 100,000 residents threshold for the orange tier, which requires either a negative test or a quarantine upon coming to Chicago.

Travelers who have been fully vaccinated and essential workers are exempt from the order. Other exemptions include travel for medical care, parental shared custody and passing through a state for less than 24 hours.

And that’s not the only good news. Chicago is now averaging 157 daily cases, the lowest number since the early days of the pandemic. That officially puts the city in the “lower risk category.”

“We’re at the best point that we’ve been from COVID since our outbreak began in March 2020,” Arwady said.
The city still recommends not traveling unless you are fully vaccinated.

The updated travel order will take effect on Friday. The order is updated every other Tuesday.

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