Both Chicago and the state of Illinois will move to Phase 4 of their respective reopening plans Friday, but in Chicago, some guidelines will be stricter.
Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday announced his plan for moving the state toward more normal activity in certain industries. Indoor dining will be allowed, but at 25 percent capacity and limited groups of 10 or fewer with tables spaced at least six feet apart.
Pritzker’s framework also allows several segments, including movie theaters, museums and zoos, to open to greater capacity, from a 10-person limit to showings and guided tours of 50 people or fewer.
The governor noted Illinois will enter Phase 4 as the statewide positivity rate for new Covid-19 cases has hovered around 2.5 percent for the past week.
“Science and data are the overarching guardrails for how Illinois will keep moving forward. By continuing to wear face coverings and following the guidance from health experts we can continue to safely reopen our economy and move forward together,” he said in a statement.
About 400,000 Illinoisans are expected to return to work after Friday.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot also announced her own reopening plan Monday, but it was one that was more guarded.
Unlike the state, face coverings will be required both indoors and outdoors , while certain businesses and public amenities will have increased restrictions. For example, there are currently no plans to allow conventions and sporting events to take place and public pools as well as beaches along the lakefront will remain closed. (The state is allowing outdoor spectator sports to resume with 20 percent capacity.) Live performance venues, like music clubs, will also be exempt from reopening plans.
Indoor restaurants and bars can open with an indoor capacity of 50 people.
Speaking with reporters Monday, Lightfoot said the exemptions are in place because Chicago “is denser, more people take public transit, and we’re an international air hub.”
She also said the city is prepared should there be a surge in coming weeks. Currently, the city has achieved a week-long average of 167 new cases per day, which Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said moves the city past its latest benchmark of having 200 or fewer positive cases in a single day.
“The goal is to move ahead just as quickly as it is relatively safe to do so with all of our industries,” she said. “I feel good about fact we are moving forward.”
However, Arwady warned that there remained a 15 percent chance that a gathering of 50 people within city limits will likely include someone with an active Covid-19 infection. For that reason, Lightfoot said the city would not hesitate to return to phase 3 should there be a surge in positive cases.
“Under no circumstances should our move to Phase Four be construed that his crisis is over,” Lightfoot said. “Covid is very much part of our presence in Chicago and it will be in the foreseeable future.”
In Phase 4, the city will reopen museums, the Lincoln Park Zoo , some performance venues and summer camps.
Art Institute of Chicago Director of Partnerships and Tourism Nora Gainer told reporters the museum will not require reservations, but “online booking will be recommended.” That isn’t the case at the Lincoln Park Zoo where director Megan Ross said reservations will be required. The museum will remain free to visitors, however.
Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar said 200,000 workers are expected to reenter the workforce starting Friday.