coronavirus illinois

Watch Live: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to Update on City's Reopening Plan

Note: Lightfoot's news conference can be watched live in the video player above beginning at around 1 p.m.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to give an update on the city's reopening plan Wednesday afternoon.

Lightfoot is scheduled to hold a news conference at 1 p.m. at Goodman Theater downtown, according to her public schedule. She will be joined by Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Mark Kelly and "other community leaders to provide an update on Chicago’s reopening efforts," her office said.

Details on what the update may include were not immediately available. The event can be watched live in the video player above.

The news conference comes one day after Lightfoot revealed that Chicago's target date to be "fully open" is the Fourth of July holiday.

"Every day that our COVID-19 metrics continue to tick downward raises the day closer to be able to put this pandemic in the rearview mirror, and we are too close to accomplishing this mission to give up now," Lightfoot said at a news conference announcing that the Chicago Auto Show would return to McCormick Place this summer.

"Our goal, ladies and gentlemen, is to be fully open by July 4," she continued. "I am working night and day toward this goal, as is our public health department, but we and I need you to continue to be on this journey with us, and that means getting vaccinated now, as soon as possible."

Lightfoot made the announcement Tuesday alongside Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker as state officials detailed a similar timeline, noting that the state is on track to enter Phase 5 - which would mark a full reopening with no capacity limits - in July.

In order for Illinois to reach Phase 5, it must first move from the current Phase 4 to a transition period known as the Bridge Phase, which officials said could come "soon," as early as next week.

Requirements to advance to the Bridge Phase include that the entire state must reach a 70% first-dose vaccination rate for residents 65 and older, which the state has already met, in addition to maintaining at least 20% ICU beds availability and holding steady on hospitalizations for COVID-19 or COVID-like illnesses, mortality rates and case rates over a 28-day monitoring period.

Last week, Chicago - previously under stricter local mitigations than the state - announced changes to the current Phase 4 of its reopening plan, loosening restrictions, increasing capacity limits and allowing for a return of fans to the United Center and more as the city's COVID metrics improve and vaccinations increase.

Among the changes that took effect Thursday were:

  • Restaurants and bars: Indoor capacity can increase to the lesser of 50% or 100 people.
  • Spectator events, theater, and performing arts: Large indoor venues, including the United Center, can now operate at 25% capacity.
  • Meetings, conferences, and conventions: Large indoor venues can now operate at the lesser of 25% or 250 people.
  • Places of worship: Large indoor venues can now operate at 25% capacity. 
  • Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events: Operate at 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Flea and farmers markets: Operate at 25% capacity or 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft.

City officials also said last week that Chicago would join the rest of the state in moving to the Bridge Phase if metrics remain stable or decline.

State health officials noted Tuesday, "Chicago has made significant progress in reversing the rise in COVID-19 metrics that started in March and caused the city to pause the reopening plan."

In the last week, COVID-19 test positivity rate has dropped and is now under 5%, data showed.

“We have seen steady progress in recent weeks with a downward trend in our leading COVID metrics and more and more people stepping up to get vaccinated, which is so important in getting us out of this pandemic,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “That has made this exciting day possible.” 

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