(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)
Chicago is ready to move into phase four of reopening on Friday alongside the rest of Illinois, city officials announced early Monday.
Meanwhile, more restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus are being lifted Monday, as Chicago's Lakefront Trail reopens along with the city's harbors and the 606 trail.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (June 22):
Chicago Releases Guidelines for Phase 4
As Chicago enters phase four at the end of the week, the city will see some big changes.
The transition will bring back several businesses and attractions to the city, each with their own restrictions and adjustments. Among the changes is the return of indoor dining, the reopening of museums, zoos, performance venues, summer camps and more. Gathering limitations will also be loosened, but residents will still be urged to social distance and wear face coverings.
Illinois Reports 462 New Coronavirus Cases, 26 Additional Deaths Monday
An additional 462 coronavirus cases and 26 more deaths were reported in Illinois Monday, according to state health officials.
The newly-reported cases bring the statewide total since the pandemic began to 137,224 cases and 6,671 deaths.
The state also reported 18,219 total test specimens returned to state labs in the last 24 hours. The latest increase brings the state to 1,379,003 tests conducted.
Zoos Announce Reopening Dates, Plans
Both Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo and the Brookfield Zoo have announced reopening plans as the city and state prepare to enter phase four of reopening.
The zoos will require reservations and will have capacity limits.
Lightfoot, Chicago Health Officials to Discuss Reopening
Mayor Lori Lightfoot Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady are scheduled to announce details of phase four of the city's reopening plan Monday afternoon during a news conference at 1:30 p.m. CST.
The news conference can be viewed live in the video player above.
Pritzker Releases New Guidelines for Phase 4
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday released new guidelines for Illinois as the state looks to move into phase four of its reopening plan on Friday.
Phase four of the "Restore Illinois" plan allows for the reopening or expansion of several industries, including indoor dining at restaurants, health and fitness, movies and theaters, museums and zoos and more. This next phase also increases the size of gatherings that are allowed from 10 people to a maximum of 50 people.
All four regions of Illinois are on track to enter phase four on Friday, Pritzker's office said, with the state's average 7-day case positivity rate falling to 2.5 percent as of Saturday.
The following safety guidelines and regulations will be put in place Friday, according to Pritzker's office:
- Meetings and events: Venues and meeting spaces can resume with the lesser of up to 50 people OR 50% of overall room capacity. Multiple groups are permitted given facilities have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups. This includes activities such as conferences and weddings.
- Indoor and Outdoor recreation: Revised guidelines to allow select indoor recreation facilities (e.g., bowling alleys, skating rinks), as well as clubhouses to reopen. Indoor recreation to operate at lesser of 50 customers OR 50% of facility capacity with outdoor recreation allowing group sizes of up to 50, and permitting multiple groups given facilities have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Indoor Dining: Indoor dining can reopen with groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced 6-feet apart in seated areas and with standing areas at no more than 25% of capacity.
- Museums: Can reopen with no more than 25% occupancy, and with interactive exhibits and rides closed; guided tours should be limited to 50 people or fewer per group; museums should have a plan to limit congregation via advance ticket sales and timed ticketing; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Zoos: Can reopen with no more than 25% occupancy, and with interactive exhibits, indoor exhibits, and rides closed; guided tours should be limited to 50 people or fewer per group; zoos should have a plan to limit congregation via advance ticket sales and timed ticketing; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Cinema and Theatre: Indoor seated theaters, cinemas, and performing arts centers to allow admission of the lesser of up to 50 guests OR 50% of overall theater or performance space capacity (applies to each screening room); outdoor capacity limited to 20% of overall theater or performance space capacity; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Outdoor seated spectator events: Outdoor spectator sports can resume with no more than 20% of seating capacity; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Film production: Allow no more than 50% of sound stage or filming location capacity; crowd scenes should be limited to 50 people or fewer.
- Youth and Recreational Sports: Revised guidelines allow competitive gameplay and tournaments; youth and recreational sports venues can operate at 50% of facility capacity, 20% seating capacity for spectators, and group sizes up to 50 with multiple groups permitted during practice and competitive games given venues have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups; concessions permitted with restrictions.
- Health and fitness centers: Revised guidelines allow gyms to open at 50% capacity and allow group fitness classes of up to 50 people with new safety guidelines for indoors, with multiple groups permitted given facilities have space to appropriately social distance and can limit interaction between groups.
- Day camps: Water-based activities permitted in accordance with IDPH guidelines; no more than 50% of facility capacity with group size of no more than 15 participants in a group, unless participants changing weekly.
Chicago Ready to Move to Phase 4 on Friday
Chicago will be ready to enter phase four with the rest of Illinois on Friday, several days earlier than health experts had initially planned, the mayor announced.
The transition means additional businesses and public amenities will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity and certain restrictions and gatherings can increase to up to 50 people inside and 100 people outside.
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
Phase four will also include adjustments to other industries that have previously reopened. Residents will still be urged to social distance and wear face coverings.
More details can be found here.
Lakefront, 606 Trail and Harbors Reopen
Chicago's most popular trails reopened to the public Monday after a months-long closure due to coronavirus, but things are different.
The Lakefront and 606 Bloomingdale Trail opened early Monday morning. Chicago harbors also opened for the 2020 boating season along with South Shore and Sydney R. Marovitz golf courses.
Both the Lakefront and 606 Bloomingdale Trail will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. daily. No congregating will be allowed on the trails, meaning runners, bikers and walkers will have to continue moving and those on the trails must continue to social distance.
While the Lakefront Trail will open, all other lakefront amenities including outdoor fitness equipment athletic fields and beaches will not. Chicago’s swimming pools and playgrounds will remain closed and no outdoor fitness equipment, basketball courts, tennis courts or athletic fields can be used. Parking lots will also remain closed for the time being.
Social Distancing Ambassadors will be stationed along the trail to educate the public and manage the flow of traffic.
More details and what you need to know can be found here.
Illinois Reports 658 New Coronavirus Cases, 23 Additional Deaths
Health officials in Illinois reported 658 new cases of coronavirus statewide Sunday, along with 23 additional deaths.
The new cases bring the statewide total since the pandemic began to 136,762 cases and 6,647 deaths.
The state also reported 23,816 total test specimens returned to state labs in the last 24 hours. The latest increase lifts the state to 1,360,784 tests conducted.
Water Safety Concerns on the Rise as More People Head to Area Beaches
Since pools closed for summer, more people are heading to the beach. But with high water levels and erosion leading to smaller beach fronts, many are packing in, leading to increased concern over water safety.
Dave Benjamin, co-founder of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, has used this time to educate the public about the risks involved. GLSRP is a non-profit group that tracks drowning statistics and performs presentations and training around the Midwest.
"It's not common sense that panic is the first stage of drowning. It’s not common knowledge that 66% of all drowning victims were good strong confident swimmers. Knowing how to swim is not enough. You need to know how to survive," Benjamin said.
Since 2010, there have been more than 850 drownings in the Great Lakes. Benjamin said he hopes to eradicate tragedy with the mantra: Flip, float, follow.