Chicago is set to enter phase four of its reopening plan Friday, easing restrictions even further and allowing larger gatherings to take place.
The transition will bring back several businesses and attractions to the city.
“The service and sacrifice made by Chicagoans from every corner of our city and every walk of life has allowed us to safely reach the point where we are now,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.
Here's a look at what will open for the first time at the beginning of phase four in Chicago:
- Indoor seating in bars and restaurants
- Museums and zoos
- Performance venues
- Summer camps / youth activities
- Gatherings of up to 50 people allowed indoors and up to 100 outdoors
Phase four will also include adjustments to other industries that have previously reopened, but as of Monday morning the city had not released industry-specific guidelines. Residents will still be urged to social distance and wear face coverings.
If progress continues to be made, and the city reaches fewer than 100 new cases per day, capacity restrictions will be loosened further during phase four, health officials said.
Chicago is currently in its third phase of reopening, though health experts had previously said the city would likely enter phase four by July 1, sooner if metrics were met. All four of Illinois' health regions currently remain on track to also enter phase four Friday.
Earlier this month, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Allison Arwady, announced adjustments in the metrics needed to consider moving to phase four.
Among those metrics are:
- a percent positivity rate of less than 7%
- adequate hospital capacity
- at least 4,500 tests per day, maintained, or increase to 6,500 tests per day
- contact tracing investigations of 90% of cases within 24 hours of positive results
- Stable or declining emergency department visits for influenza-like illness or COVID-like illness over 21 days
- Stable or declining rates of cases resulting in hospital admissions and deaths over 28 days
- Declining rate of new cases over 28 days and/or less than 200 new cases per day over 14 days
“The data continue to show that we’re making progress and we’ll be ready to move into phase four later this week,” Arwady said in a statement. “However, we still have a lot of COVID-19 cases here in Chicago; we’re just now moving from a high-risk to a medium-high-risk city for COVID-19 spread, based on our numbers, and we need to move ahead cautiously. I can’t emphasize enough the need for people and businesses to continue to abide by the public health guidance so we can avoid the spike in cases we’re seeing in other cities and states that re-opened before us.”
The city has implemented a system to determine if the reopening should stall or possibly even move backwards. As long as metrics continue to be met, or stay "green," cautious reopening plans can advance. If some metrics are not being met, or become "yellow," the city will "pause and monitor."
But if the city's progress turns "red," plans will stop and some restrictions may be reinstated.