reopening illinois

Chicago Residents Excited for Move Into Phase 5 Friday

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Friday will mark an important milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, as the state of Illinois will eliminate all capacity restrictions and move into Phase 5 of its reopening plan.

That news has residents excited, and they’re already planning on what they’re going to do as reopening continues its acceleration.

Some residents are already planning on what they’re going to do in coming months.

“I’m dreaming of climbing the Alhambra in Granada, Spain when they open,” Courtney Lewis said.

“(I just want) a little sense of normalcy. The farmer’s market is here, and it feels like summer is back,” Lincoln Square resident Ruby Kumar added.

Chicago sports fans are especially excited, as the Cubs will be reopen to full capacity at Wrigley Field beginning on Friday. The White Sox will have full capacity for fans later this month.

“It’s like the World Series Game 7, New Years Eve and Fourth of July crammed into one,” Zach Strauss, owner of Sluggers’ Sports Bar, said.

The bar, like many other businesses, is looking for more staff as they anticipate an influx of customers.

“I need another 30% more staff,” he said. “We are definitely hiring.”

In Lincoln Square, musicians and employees at Old Town School of Folk Music are excited to welcome more people into their schools, and into music venues around the city, but they say they will continue to remain vigilant in an effort to keep others safe.

Illinois’ Phase 5 will begin tomorrow, and while officials are optimistic, they’ll be keeping a close eye on COVID metrics. NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern has the story.

“Most students taking in-person classes are under the age of 12, so we will be continuing to mask up inside, but outside there will be more freedom to be maskless for folks who are vaccinated,” Cat Tager said.

At Timeless Toys, the elimination of capacity restrictions is welcome news.

“During the holiday season and on weekends, we tend to have a line out the door,” shopkeeper Scott Friedland said. “We’re excited to have full capacity back open, and for those customers to come back in and browse and feel safe doing so.”

Nearly all COVID restrictions will end Friday, with mask mandates remaining in effect only in areas where federal or state law requires coverings.

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