CHICAGO (CBS) — Next Wednesday, the city of Chicago enters its COVID-19 Phase 3 with a gradual reopening of some businesses on June 3.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is “cautiously reopening” with an emphasis on continued social distancing and for people to continue to wear face masks.
The mayor said specific city services, including library and park districts, will reopen the following week on June 8.
“Throughout the pandemic, I have been overwhelmed by the service and sacrifice made by countless Chicagoans from every corner of our city and every walk of life,” said Lightfoot. “Our ability to meet this moment would not have been possible without the work and passion of countless other Chicagoans who stepped up for their city during our time of need. It’s because of all these efforts that Chicago is poised to begin cautiously reopening on June 3.”
The lakefront, according to Lightfoot, may be reopened later in Phase 3, but not in early June.
Lightfoot released industry-specific guidelines for businesses, employees, and customers for the June 3 reopening date. Some include how businesses can engage in “interactions between workers and customers, how to maintain safe working spaces and conditions, and how to design and monitor workplace operations to create flexibility and maintain safety for employees and customers.”
But specific information guidelines for sporting events, religious services, outdoor performances, summer programs and youth activities, the Lakefront, and museums “will be available later in phase three when those entities are predicted to begin reopening.”
The Chicago Department of Public Health’s Doctor Allison Arwady added that while this is a gradual movement, COVID-19 cases are still coming in and affecting specific communities.
“The last thing any of us wants is to experience a set-back that would mean another spike in COVID cases and deaths,” Arwady said. “I’m particularly concerned about the communities and people who have been most impacted by this outbreak because they will experience any resurgence more than others. We need to continue to take this seriously as we move into the next phase.”
While outdoor seating is being stressed and encouraged, Lightfoot said she is aware not every restaurant has access to outdoor seating and the city is working with those businesses.
“I want to make sure that we are aligned with the governor’s vision,” Lightfoot said. “But I have talked to him specifically about the challenges that many of our neighborhood restaurant space. The reality is that they may not have the resources or personnel to have their dining be completely outside. They need to have the indoor dining component and I know he is contemplating how to do that.”
For office spaces, the mayor said she doesn’t expect a mass migration into the city for workers.
“What I have been hearing from both workers and from employers is that in many instances, they are not coming back downtown and certainly not full-time until much later in the summer or even in the fall.”
When asked about whether Lollpalooza will take place this summer, the mayor said she would be making an announcement “relatively soon.”
This is a developing story.