CHICAGO (CBS) — City Hall has reopened to the general public after 16 months of restricted access due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday.

City Hall will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. All visitors still must wear masks and practice social distancing in the building.

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“Due to our progress to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19, I am proud to announce that City Hall is officially reopening to the public,” Mayor Lightfoot said in a news release. “Our efforts in promoting equality, inclusion, and transparency in all aspects of City Government will now be even more accessible as we open City Hall up to our citizens who have made reconnecting after the pandemic possible. We are excited to see you all again soon, and we continue encouraging residents to get vaccinated so that we can fully reopen even more spaces throughout the city.”

City Hall first closed to the general public> back on March 19 of last year as pandemic shutdowns first began. Access has remained limited since the city moved to Phase 5 of the pandemic reopening last month.

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The Department of Finance Payment Service Centers have remained open throughout the pandemic and will still be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at City Hall with alternate times available. Debt checks, located in Room 700 at City Hall, are available through email, and limited in-person services are now available.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s Small Business Center, in Room 800 at City Hall, is now open to the public for limited in-person consultations. Masks and social distancing are required, and in-person visits should be reserved for consultations that cannot be completed remotely.

The Department of Buildings will gradually reopen to the public, and in-person services will be prioritized for homeowners or business tenants with limited internet access. Only drop-off service will be available for third-party providers such as expediters, attorneys, contractors, and design professionals – who must follow electronic submission procedures and schedule appointments for meetings at City Hall. Such providers may not walk in unscheduled.

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The office of the City Clerk has remained open all along and will still be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at City Hall, with two neighborhood satellite offices open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information on city vehicle stickers, parking passes, and dog license plates are available at the Clerk’s office website.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff