UPDATE: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and city health officials are set to hold a press conference to discuss the changes at 1:30 p.m. Watch live in the player above.
With Chicago set to enter phase four earlier than anticipated, Mayor Lori Lightfoot will reveal details on how the city plans to begin the next phase of reopening.
The mayor, along with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, will address the changes ahead in a 1 p.m. press conference Monday. (Watch live above)
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.
“The service and sacrifice made by Chicagoans from every corner of our city and every walk of life has allowed us to safely reach the point where we are now,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “It includes the incredible work done by our healthcare professionals, first responders, and essential workers who have cared for our residents and kept our city running. Everything we’ve done to meet this moment has been the direct result of the hard work and sacrifice of our residents, which has not only saved the lives of thousands of Chicagoans over these past three months, but also helped lay the groundwork for the transformative recovery that will follow.”
Phase four will see the return of indoor seating in bars and restaurants and the reopening of museums, zoos, performance venues and summer camps.
Phase four will also include adjustments to other industries that have previously reopened, though the city had not specified what those adjustments entailed as of Monday morning. Residents will still be urged to social distance and wear face coverings.
If progress continues to be made, and the city reaches fewer than 100 new cases per day, capacity restrictions will be loosened further during phase four, health officials said.
Chicago is currently in its third phase of reopening, though health experts had previously said the city would likely enter phase four by July 1, sooner if metrics were met. All four of Illinois' health regions currently remain on track to also enter phase four Friday.
Earlier this month, Arwady announced adjustments in the metrics needed to consider moving to phase four, all of which the city is currently meeting.
Among those metrics are:
- a percent positivity rate of less than 7%
- adequate hospital capacity
- at least 4,500 tests per day, maintained, or increase to 6,500 tests per day
- contact tracing investigations of 90% of cases within 24 hours of positive results
- Stable or declining emergency department visits for influenza-like illness or COVID-like illness over 21 days
- Stable or declining rates of cases resulting in hospital admissions and deaths over 28 days
- Declining rate of new cases over 28 days and/or less than 200 new cases per day over 14 days
But health officials have consistently cautioned about the potential for a spike, similar to other states in the U.S., as things reopen.
“The data continue to show that we’re making progress and we’ll be ready to move into phase four later this week,” Arwady said in a statement. “However, we still have a lot of COVID-19 cases here in Chicago; we’re just now moving from a high-risk to a medium-high-risk city for COVID-19 spread, based on our numbers, and we need to move ahead cautiously. I can’t emphasize enough the need for people and businesses to continue to abide by the public health guidance so we can avoid the spike in cases we’re seeing in other cities and states that re-opened before us.”
The city has implemented a system to determine if the reopening should stall or possibly even move backwards. As long as metrics continue to be met, or stay "green," cautious reopening plans can advance. If some metrics are not being met, or become "yellow," the city will "pause and monitor."
But if the city's progress turns "red," plans will stop and some restrictions may be reinstated.
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