Chicago won't be eligible to transition into phase three of its reopening plan until at least early June, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday.
Though a specific date has not been released, the announcement makes it clear Chicago will not be entering its next stage of reopening with much of Illinois next week.
“The health and safety of residents has always been and will continue to be our singular, north star in dealing with this crisis,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “While our health metrics don’t allow us to transition to phase three just yet, their trajectory over these past few weeks suggest that Chicago will be prepared to make that transition in June.”
Lightfoot said she couldn't give an exact date because "we just don't know yet."
"I don't think it's mid-June, I think it's early June," she said, adding that she sees it happening before June 10 and sometime in the "single digits."
Lightfoot noted that while the city is on track to reach that mark, "we will remain in phase two if those numbers take a different turn."
"A lot depends on the steps you take between now and then," Lightfoot said.
Both Lightfoot and city health officials urged residents to continue following the statewide stay-at-home order throughout Memorial Day weekend, but expressed "cautious optimism" in the city's health data.
"I'm confident we're starting to get on the other side of the peak," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.
Cook County continues to have the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., she noted.
"The bottom line is we are on track, but we need people to continue to stay home and save lives this weekend and next week as the stay-at-home order is in place," Arwady said.
Once the city does transition, strict physical distancing and masks will still be required, Lightfoot said, though some industries will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity.
Here are the guidelines residents must still follow:
- When in the presence of others, keeping 6 feet of physical distance apart and wear a face covering
- Non-business, social gatherings limited to <10 persons
- Phased, limited public amenities begin to open
- Stay at home if you feel ill or have come into contact with someone with COVID-19
- Continue to physically distance from vulnerable populations
- Get tested if you have symptoms
Lightfoot has been promising further guidance for residents and businesses preparing to reopen in the next phase - even as timing remains unclear. She said the city will release such information next week.
Here's a look at the businesses that can reopen with capacity limitations in early June:
- Childcare centers
- In-home family childcare
- Park facilities (non-Lakefront, does not include contact sports)
- Office-based jobs
- Professional services
- Real estate services
- Outdoor attractions (e.g. boating – not including The Playpen, non-Lakefront golf courses)
- Retail stores (non-essential)
- Personal services (e.g., hair/nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors)
- Restaurants and coffee shops (outdoor dining)
Other industry sub-sectors may open later in phase three if proper safety measures can be put in place:
- Summer programs & youth activities (e.g., Park District, private summer camps)
- Religious services
- The Lakefront
- Limited-capacity outdoor performances
Industries that are already open will continue or expand operations in phase three:
- Community mental health
- Federally Qualified Health Centers
- Public transit
- Regional transit
- Rideshare & taxis
For now, schools, playgrounds, bars and lounges, and large venues like stadiums, indoor theaters, music venues and convention centers will remain closed, the mayor's office said.
“We have said all along that the data and science will lead us in our decision making around the COVID-19 response and have been tracking the metrics on a daily basis throughout the outbreak. And I’m happy to say we continue to see positive trends in several key areas and are on track to move into the next phase of our response some time next month,” Arwady said in a statement. “While we’re not out of the woods yet and we all still need to take proper precautions, it’s clear the stay-at-home order and all the social distancing we’ve been doing has been working: we’ve prevented the health system from becoming overwhelmed and saved lives, and we should all be thankful and proud of that fact.”
Lightfoot on Thursday declined to give a "magic date" for when the city would enter phase three, even as the city sits within a region that is on track to reopen under state guidelines as early as May 29.
"The magic date is when we hit our metrics," she said.
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 Thursday.
Here's a look at the criteria Chicago must meet in order to enter phase three:
Declining Rate of New COVID-19 Cases
- COVID-19 Cases Rate (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average): Declining rate of new cases, based on incidence and/or percent positivity
- Severe Outcome Rate (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average): Stable or declining rates of cases resulting in hospitalization, ICU admission, and/or death
- Syndromic Surveillance: Declining emergency department visits for influenza-like illness and/or COVID-like illness for 14 days
Adequate Hospital Capacity
- Hospital Capacity Citywide (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average): Hospital beds <1800 COVID patients, ICU beds <600 COVID patients, Ventilators <450 COVID patients
Adequate Testing Capacity:
- Testing Capacity: Ability to perform 4,500 tests per day
- Testing Percent Positivity Rate: Community positivity rate <15%
Adequate Response Capacity:
- Case Investigation & Contact Tracing: Expanded system in place for congregate and community investigations and contact tracing