CHICAGO (CBS) — Phase 3 in Chicago starts Wednesday.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said after speaking to business owners, aldermen and other community leaders, and considering the events of recent days, she made the decision to let businesses reopen under the Phase 3 guidelines.
“That means numerous businesses and public spaces will be reopening to the public with limited capacity. These include personal services and retail stores as well as restaurants and coffee shops, with a focus on outdoor space,” Lightfoot said. “In light of the events over the past few days we will continue to work that we have been doing directly with local chambers of commerce and business services and organization to start the reopening process.”
Details on Phase 3 reopening are listed on the city’s website.
“We will also still be moving forward with our Open Streets plan to help our small businesses particularly our neighborhood restaurants. They will have the extra space that they need to safely welcome customers and get their operations back on track,” Lightfoot said.
Doctor Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the number of COVID-19 cases has steadied to the point to allow reopening efforts.
“I am happy to announce that we have reached all of the public health metrics that allow us to make that step forward. New cases continue but they are on the decline and that has been a steady decline. That said, we are still adding hundreds of COVID cases every day. And we will pass 50,000 COVID cases just in the city of Chicago in the next couple weeks,” Arwady said.
She said that hospitalizations are on the decline, but more young people are being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.
“This progress is fragile at best. The reason we call it phase three cautious reopening, is because now more than ever we need to be cautious,” Arwady said.
The commissioner also addressed recent protests where masses of people were together and not observing social distance instructions.
“If people have been at gatherings, for any reason, protest related or not, prior to the lifting of the stay-at-home order in Chicago which will be coming tomorrow, you are at increased risk for spreading COVID,” Arwady said. “We encourage and ask people as much as possible to keep that 14 day self-quarantine and at a minimum we need you to limit those contacts with our most vulnerable Chicagoans.”
She said those include people over the age of 60 and people with underlying medical conditions.
The mayor and Chicago Police Superintendent also discussed the George Floyd protests, the violent aftermath and cleanup efforts. Brown said officers were on the South Side to watch over businesses. One, he said had been looted several times. The superintendent said officer were attacked.
“Rocks were being thrown at our officers, they were being pelted. They stood in line with their professionalism. Then they were shouted at, Brown said, who added one protester insulted him personally.
“(He) began calling me an Oreo, which is a very insulting term to a black person in this country,” Brown said. “(There) is no insult and there is no assault you could meet out towards us,” Brown said. “So, if you want to insult me, go right ahead. I am a black man, who is very comfortable in his own skin. And I have been black a long time.”
When Lightfoot was asked about her response to President Trump’s comments about sending in the military to cities after days of unrest, the mayor dismissed his plans.
“That’s not going to happen. I will see him in court. I’m not confident that the president has the power to do that,” Lightfoot said.
“Keep in mind that this is a man who likes to bluster. Even before I was mayor, his man indicated he was going to send in the feds, whatever that means. So let’s not overreact. But we’ll be prepared,” said the mayor, who added she does not want military personnel on Chicago’s streets.
“They’re not trained in deescalation. They haven’t built trust and authentic relationships with people in our community. We’re not going to give our city to the military so our president can play to his reelection. That’s not going to happen. Period.”
This is a developing story.