Chicago to begin coronavirus reopening plan Wednesday despite unrest, Lightfoot says

Chicago News
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CHICAGO — The City of Chicago will still advance to the next phase of its coronavirus reopening plan Wednesday despite ongoing unrest over the death of George Floyd, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday.

“Everywhere I went, I asked … ‘Should we open? Or should we delay?’” Lightfoot said. “And to universal acclaim, emphatically what I heard from people was: ‘Mayor, we have to step forward. We have to open.’”

Starting Wednesday, the city will transition to “Phase 3” of its reopening plan, under which many businesses can open their doors with capacity restrictions and other preventative measures in place.

Under Phase 3, office-based and manufacturing jobs, one-on-one and small outdoor trainings at gyms, and childcare services can resume; “non-essential” retail, hotels and personal care services like salons and barbershops can reopen; and bars and restaurants can serve customers outdoors.

City services including parks, facilities and libraries will begin reopening on June 8 as well, offering additional services in light of recent unrest, according to a statement.

The lakefront remains closed and gyms can’t fully reopen, although Lightfoot previously said they may allow them to reopen at some point during Phase 3.

The City will also be working with local businesses to provide board-up services and other assistance as protests and unrest continues in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

City officials decided to move on to the next “phase” based on a declining number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, available hospital capacity and the amount of testing in the city.

Here’s more about Phase 3 of Chicago’s reopening plan.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said while the city meets the metrics needed to move on, a resurgence of COVID-19 cases could force it to go back to Phase 2.

“Some of the modeling we’re looking at shows that if people get careless and stop taking the proper precautions we could see a resurgence as soon as July, and I know none of us wants that,” Arwady said in a statement.

Chicago’s “Open Streets” initiative to close some residential streets to most traffic while offering additional space for bikers and runners, as well as expanding outdoor dining will also continue as planned according to Lightfoot.

Streets in parts of the Chatham, Lakeview, Little Village, River North, Near West Side and West Loop neighborhoods will be closed in coming days, although the City didn’t release a specific timeline.

For the latest updates on protests, street closures and more in Chicago, follow WGN’s live blog.

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