By Chris Tye

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago may be just hours away from a massive return to normal.

It rests within the Department of Public Health. But the trickle down effects span from your favorite eatery to your kid’s basketball practice. CBS 2’s Chris Tye reports on what Saturday what Saturday might unlock.

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There have been regions and phases, tiers and mitigation. At the end of the day, a drop in COVID numbers may mean a surge in normalcy.

Next Wednesday was, and remains, “re-opening day” for River West Italian eatery Piccolo Sogno. When the holidays ended and the deep freeze arrived, they jettisoned their tented approach.

“We got rid of the tent because it was too costly,” said Tony Priolo, owner of Piccolo Sogno. “It wasn’t viable for us.”

Viability may be back as the Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday said Chicago and a good chunk of its suburbs are “….on track to advance to Tier 1 on Saturday.”

If it happens, they and others around Chicago and its suburbs could allow 25 people or 25% capacity inside to dine, whichever number is smaller. A lifeline, but many eateries struggling for a dime can’t just open on a dime.

“You have to get the product in and sanitize the restaurant, it’s impossible for us to be open by tomorrow,” said Priolo.

If Tier 1 becomes a reality Saturday, it unlocks a whole new normal for Chicagoland youth sports.

High-risk sports like basketball, football and wrestling could begin intra-team scrimmages. Medium-risk sports like soccer, volleyball and water polo could begin playing opponents within the state and within their conference. All restrictions on lower risk sports like gymnastics, softball and tennis would be lifted.

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Tier 1 also released cultural institutions from some restrictions. The Field Museum is already allowing some members back in recent days.

Artifacts, appetizers and assists. The slow boat to normalcy could be taking off starting Saturday.

There was a jump in COVID case numbers Friday. It was over 7,000. But in recent days, it was almost half that. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health said that was due to an adjustment in probable case count.

The relaxing of student athlete rules may be a little stickier for Chicago Public School athletes. On Friday, CPS told principals and athletic directors that the full resumption of low risk sports in the district will need further review.

They meet Wednesday. For everyone else: the Tier 1 switch could occur as early as noon Saturday.

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