CHICAGO — City Hall is instructing Chicago police and other agencies to begin planning for a return to more traditional summer events, according to a source.
The development signals that Mayor Lori Lightfoot is preparing to further relax COVID-19 restrictions that would allow for large crowds to gather for summer staples such as concerts, sporting events, fairs and festivals.
No specific dates are being offered.
Planning for those events sometimes takes months and includes inter-agency collaboration for crowd control, traffic management and the use of park district resources.
A source tells WGN News Chicago police, for example, will now begin so-called “table-top” exercises to devise plans to secure larger events.
A spokesperson for Lightfoot told WGN News, “City of Chicago departments are considering options for summer events that follow all city and state health guidelines.”
Earlier this week, the mayor announced Chicago’s lakefront, playgrounds and indoor park district pools will re-open for the first-time since the pandemic led to a statewide stay-at-home order last March.
Currently, Illinois remains in Phase 4 of re-opening. Despite deep declines in Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths – and the development of a vaccine – Governor JB Pritzker has been hesitant to move the state to the final stage of re-opening.
When pressed by reporters last week, Pritzker said, “What I can tell you is every day we’re getting closer to that. Every day people get a vaccine, people sign up and get a vaccine and we get a little closer.”