It's still not clear when the city of Chicago will move into Phase Five and eliminate COVID mitigation rules, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot weighed in on the subject this week.
The Chicago Transit Authority will also reduce fares on some of its pass programs to help encourage riders to return to the CTA as the pandemic winds down.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today.
When Will Chicago Enter Phase 5 and Fully Reopen? Here's What Lightfoot Said
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Will Chicago join Illinois if the state fully reopens next month?
According to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the answer is maybe.
During a news conference following Wednesday's City Council meeting, Lightfoot was asked if the city is prepared to join the state, should Illinois enter Phase 5 on June 11 as planned.
Earlier in May, Lightfoot revealed Chicago was on track to be "fully open" by the Fourth of July holiday and said such a shift will take place when the city sees "continued improvement in COVID metrics and more widespread vaccine uptake."
"I believe that we've talked about - we meaning myself and [Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady] - that we hope to get to fully open by Fourth of July. We will see what happens by June 11," Lightfoot said Wednesday. "We're definitely trending in the right direction, but the minute I say that I worry because we've been here before. But our cases are going down, our percent positivity is going down, hospitalizations, ICU - all the metrics that we follow on a daily basis are all trending in the right direction, but we've got to keep getting people vaccinated. But my hope is that we're going to keep moving on the trajectory that we're on, and we're going to see more opportunities for opening up."
Barring a significant rise in COVID-19 metrics, Illinois is expected to lift all capacity limitations and fully reopen its economy as soon as June 11.
CTA to Offer Reduced Fare Promotional Passes
The Chicago Transit Authority on Thursday announced a new promotion on reduced fares in an effort to support the city’s reopening, according to a press release.
CTA is reducing the price on three of its existing unlimited ride passes in an effort to attract new riders and encourage existing customers to use public transit.
"Throughout the pandemic, CTA services have been vitally important for so many residents," said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. "Now, as our city begins to reopen and our residents begin to restore their sense of normalcy by returning to work and in-person activities, these services will be even more critical.
From Memorial Day Weekend, May 28, through Labor Day weekend, Sept. 6, the following passes will receive price adjustments:
· One-day pass: $5 (down from $10)
· Three-day pass: $15 (down from $20)
· Seven-day pass: $20 (down from $28)
“This new fare promotion will not only ensure that this transition is as accessible as possible and build back the CTA's ridership, but it will also further prove that a robust transit system is essential to Chicago's social and economic recovery from this pandemic,” Lightfoot said.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 891 New COVID Cases, 42 Deaths, 63K Vaccinations
Illinois health officials reported 891 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 42 additional deaths in the last day, along with more than 63,000 vaccinations administered.
The newly reported coronavirus cases bring the state total to 1,379,279 cases since the pandemic began and lift the total death toll to 22,718, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In the last 24 hours, 67,705 coronavirus test specimens were returned to state laboratories, with more than 24.4 million now conducted during the pandemic.
The statewide positivity rate dropped slightly to 1.9% of all tests returning positive results, and the positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days also dropped to 2.5%, according to IDPH data.
The state reported 63,717 vaccinations administered in the last day, according to the latest data, bringing the seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered to 67,485 doses.
As of Wednesday, the state has administered over 11 million doses of coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic, with 66% of Illinois adults having received at least one dose and 49% fully vaccinated.
Cubs Say COVID Vaccinated Fans No Longer Required to Wear Masks at Wrigley Field
The Chicago Cubs have announced changes to their policy on facial coverings inside of Wrigley Field, saying that fans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required, but are still recommended, to wear masks when in outdoor sections of the ballpark.
According to an email sent from the Cubs to fans on Wednesday, fans who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus will not have to wear their masks when walking on concourses or when in the seating area at the ballpark. Fans will still be required to wear masks in indoor spaces inside the park, including retail shops and suites.
Fans who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to wear masks unless actively eating or drinking, the team says. Staff at the ballpark will also still be required to wear masks.
That threshold ranges from $52,200 for one person up to $86,500 for a six-person household, according to the city.