Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Sunday that she and other officials have not determined whether the city can move into the next phase of its reopening plan as scheduled amid the coronavirus pandemic after massive crowds gathered in protest downtown the day before, with chaos, vandalism and violence unfolding into the night.
Lightfoot said during a news conference to address the unrest of the night before that she was "in conversation" with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown about the city's reopening plan moving forward.
"We will make a determination whether or not we can go forward on June 3 as planned," Lightfoot said. "We haven't made that determination yet."
She announced on Thursday that Chicago would enter phase three of its reopening plan on June 3, days after the rest of Illinois moved forward with loosening restrictions meant to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Chicago's third phase of reopening is slated to allow several businesses to reopen with new guidelines and limitations, and small non-essential gatherings of up to 10 people. Some of the businesses allowed to reopen include restaurants for outdoor dining with appropriate social distancing and sanitary measures.
Lightfoot mentioned some of those businesses looking to reopen after being closed since March soon were in the downtown areas hit hard by vandalism and looting Saturday night.
"It's a terrible thing that after being shut down for so long, and these businesses were preparing for opening on June 3, putting out patio furniture and doing other things to get themselves ready, that now instead of a moment of celebration, what they're doing is experiencing a moment of despair," Lightfoot said.
"I think it's going to take some time for us to assess what the impact is going to be on those businesses all across the city that were preparing," she continued. "Certainly in the downtown area, there has been a negative impact. And we're in conversations with those businesses to determine what that will mean for them this weekend and into the future."
In announcing a date for the city to enter the third phase of reopening, Lightfoot warned that she and other officials stood prepared to move backwards if reopening leads to another surge in COVID-19 cases.
"Let's be clear: under no circumstances should our move to phase three be confused with this crisis being over, because it's not," she said.