coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Plan to Reopen Lakefront and Bars, Declining Case Numbers

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today

(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.)

Illinois numbers continue to be on a downward trend as the state saw its lowest daily death toll in more than two months.

In fact, over the last two weeks, a report indicates the state has seen the largest decrease in coronavirus cases in the country, even as several other states begin to surge.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (June 15):

Illinois Reports 473 New Coronavirus Cases, 19 Additional Deaths

Illinois officials reported just 473 new coronavirus cases statewide on Monday, another drop in the overall infection rates across the state.

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 473 new cases are the lowest single-day increase in virus cases since March 30, when 460 new cases were confirmed by health officials.

In all, 133,016 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed statewide since the pandemic began.

Reopening Plan for Chicago's Lakefront, Bars Unveiled

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday announced plans to reopen the city's lakefront and area bars, but with some changes and new restrictions in place.

Beginning June 22, the Lakefront Trail will open east of Lake Shore Drive from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, but constant motion will be required. Beaches and parks east of Lake Shore Drive will remain closed, however.

The 18-mile Lakefront Trail will be open for exercise and transit only, and no other recreational activities will be allowed, the mayor's office said, stating "Chicagoans must abide by a 'keep it moving' strategy where only walking, running, biking, and rollerblading will be allowed."

In addition, bars, taverns and breweries can offer outside services beginning Wednesday.

That means outdoor patios, rooftops, rooms with retractable roofs and indoor spaces where 50% or more of a wall can be removed by opening windows, doors, or panels.

CTA Launches New Dashboard for Riders to See When Buses Are Crowded

The Chicago Transit Authority has launched a new dashboard to help riders "avoid traveling during heavy ridership periods."

The feature, which will be updated weekly, uses a color-coding system to show space availability for each bus route every hour.

The transit agency said the report is aimed at "helping you determine the best times for their travel, especially customers who may have more flexibility on when to ride, and to help promote social distancing."

The CTA said a similar dashboard is being developed for trains and the agency hopes to soon offer a look at real-time data.

Maggie Daley Park Reopens Monday

Chicago's Maggie Daley Park reopened to the public Monday morning, offering mini golf, a cafe and the park's popular ribbon for scooters and roller skates or blades.

The park opened at 6 a.m. and will remain open through 9 p.m. daily. Mini golf will be offered from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the "Rink Cafe" is open, the park tweeted.

Illinois Sees Largest Decrease in COVID-19 Cases in U.S.: Report

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Illinois "is on the right track."

The governor tweeted over the weekend a link to a Fortune Magazine map indicating Illinois has seen the largest decrease in coronavirus cases over the last two weeks of any state in the U.S.

At the same time, the map shows a number of states seeing a "strong increase" in cases.

"We've continued to listen to our epidemiologists and follow the data," Pritzker wrote, adding "Let's keep it up!"

More Restrictions Could Soon Ease in Chicago’s Phase 3, Health Official Says

Chicago officials have long hinted that restrictions could ease further as the city continues into phase three of its five-phased reopening plan - and an announcement on such a move could be coming soon.

Chicago entered the third phase of its reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic on June 3, allowing a number of businesses to resume operations at limited capacity and with certain restrictions in place.

The capacity of those industries were expected to be "incrementally" increased as time goes on "based on health criteria progression and adherence," Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office said.

On Friday, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady hinted that such a move could be announced this week.

"If things are looking good, we may be announcing some, you know, some additional expansions, even as soon as next week, and we'll be sharing more details of that as the numbers hopefully continue to improve," she said.

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