Will Chicago join Illinois if the state fully reopens next month?
According to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the answer is maybe.
During a news conference following Wednesday's City Council meeting, Lightfoot was asked if the city is prepared to join the state, should Illinois enter Phase 5 on June 11 as planned.
Earlier in May, Lightfoot revealed Chicago was on track to be "fully open" by the Fourth of July holiday and said such a shift will take place when the city sees "continued improvement in COVID metrics and more widespread vaccine uptake."
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"I believe that we've talked about - we meaning myself and [Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady] - that we hope to get to fully open by Fourth of July. We will see what happens by June 11," Lightfoot said Wednesday. "We're definitely trending in the right direction, but the minute I say that I worry because we've been here before. But our cases are going down, our percent positivity is going down, hospitalizations, ICU - all the metrics that we follow on a daily basis are all trending in the right direction, but we've got to keep getting people vaccinated. But my hope is that we're going to keep moving on the trajectory that we're on, and we're going to see more opportunities for opening up."
Barring a significant rise in COVID-19 metrics, Illinois is expected to lift all capacity limitations and fully reopen its economy as soon as June 11.
Phase 5 will remove capacity limits and restrictions on all sectors of the economy, with "businesses, schools and recreation resuming normal operations with new safety guidance and procedures," according to state officials.
Conventions, festivals and large events will also be able to resume, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Last week, the city of Chicago announced it will no longer require masks for fully vaccinated people in most settings following similar changes from the state of Illinois and revised guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under the current Bridge Phase, which began in Illinois and the city of Chicago on May 14, a number of establishments, such as offices, retail counters, amusement parks, museums, theaters and zoos are limited to 60% capacity. For restaurants, not including those in Chicago, patrons must be seated at least 6 feet apart, and parties must consist of 10 people or fewer. Capacity is limited to 30% indoors and 50% outdoors.
Once 50% of residents age 16 and older have been vaccinated and stable or declining COVID-19 metrics are recorded during a 28-day period, Phase 5 will begin, IDPH stated. All of the state's health care regions will enter the final reopening phase together, as was the case with the Bridge Phase.
Illinois could revert back to a previous phase in its reopening plan if there is a resurgence in the pandemic, officials have said. That would be measured by an unspecified "increasing trend" in Illinois' case rate as well as one of the following, measured over a 10-day monitoring period:
- Hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness trend increasing and above 150 daily average
- COVID-19 patients in the hospital trend increasing and above 750 daily census
- Mortality rate trend increasing and above 0.1 daily average
- ICU bed availability < 20%