coronavirus illinois

Will Chicago Enter Phase 3 of Reopening This Month? Mayor Addresses Timing

She declined to give a "magic date," but said the decision will be made when the city meets certain health metrics

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Chicago may not be ready to enter phase three of reopening with much of Illinois this month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday.

Lightfoot declined to give a "magic date," but said the decision will be made when the city meets the health metrics laid out in her city-specific five-phased reopening plan.

"The magic date is when we hit our metrics," she said.

Though the city sits within a region that is, along with all of Illinois' other health regions, on track to reopen this month under state standards, Lightfoot had previously unveiled her own reopening plan for city residents.

On Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced changes to phase three of the state's plan, which includes allowing restaurants and bars to reopen for outdoor seating.

"I don't think we're going to be ready by May 29 but my hope is soon in June we're going to be ready," Lightfoot said during a press briefing, echoing comments from Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, who said earlier this week that the city is eyeing June for its next phase of reopening.

"We're really thinking about June because if things keep going the way we are, we'll be in a good place," Arwady said.

Lightfoot acknowledged that she is working with local aldermen on plans to allow street closures to accommodate for an increase in outdoor dining.

"The reality is ... no restaurant I know of is going to be able to survive based on what the weather is like on a typical day in Chicago," Lightfoot said. "I think having the opportunity to do it and dine al-fresco on a larger scale, which is what we certainly are talking about, is important, but they also need the ability to be able to be inside as well."

Lightfoot also acknowledged that a timeline for reopening the city's lakefront has still not been determined.

"I'm very worried about a spike and a surge in cases when we do open back up," she said. "We're going to work to mitigate against that but having thousands of people along the lakefront will be the surest way to set us back."

Lightfoot said in a one-on-one interview with NBC 5 Tuesday that she does plan on reopening the lakefront "at some point this summer."

"I think there are ways in which we could open the lakefront safely, but there are going to be limits," Lightfoot said in the interview. "There are going to be limits on the kind of activity, there are going to be limits on the amount of people."

She noted the city is working on guidance for residents and likened the city's reopening to slowly turning on a dimmer rather than flipping a switch.

Here's a look at the criteria Chicago must meet in order to enter phase three:

• COVID-19 Case Rate (over 14 days, as a rolling average):
o Declining rate of new cases, based on incidence and/or percent positivity
• Severe Outcome Rate (over 14 days, as a rolling average):
o Stable or declining rates of cases resulting in hospitalization, ICU admission, and/or death
• Hospital Capacity Citywide (over 14 days, as a rolling average):
o Hospital beds: <1800 COVID patients
o ICU beds: <600 COVID patients
o Ventilators: <450 COVID patients
• Testing Capacity:
o Test at least 5% of Chicago residents per month
• Testing Percent Positivity Rates (over 14 days, as a rolling average):
o Congregate: <30% positive tests
o Community: <15% positive tests
• Syndromic Surveillance (over 14 days, as a rolling average):
o Declining emergency department visits for influenza-like illness and/or COVID-like illness
• Case Investigation & Contact Tracing:
o Expanded system in place for congregate and community investigations and
contact tracing

Contact Us