CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago will fully reopen on June 11 with no capacity limits, along with the rest of the state of Illinois, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday morning, after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions.
Lightfoot had previously targeted July 4 for a full reopening of the city, but during a Facebook Live question and answer session with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, the mayor said the city will now join the rest of Illinois in moving to the final phase of the state’s reopening plan on June 11.
“I think we’re ready to move to Phase 5 with the state next Friday, June 11th,” Lightfoot said.
The announcement comes as the city’s average COVID-19 test positivity rate has dipped to 2.0%, the lowest it’s been during the pandemic. The city is also averaging 135 new cases per day over the past week, down 44% from one week ago. New hospitalizations in Chicago are averaging 15 per day, down 57% from one week ago, while the city is averaging 4 virus deaths per day, down 33% from last week.
“Now is the time to do this. You know, these numbers are looking so good right now,” Arwady said.
Because you’ve masked up, socially distanced and got vaccinated, we’re now moving to Phase 5 on Friday, June 11 in alignment with the state.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 3, 2021
Lightfoot warned Chicagoans not to get complacent, however, and urged people to continue getting COVID-19 shots, as vaccination rates across the state have dropped off sharply since their April peak.
“Before people uncork the champagne and have beers all around, a note of caution. COVID’s still here, still with us,” Lightfoot said. “Why we are able to do what we’re doing, no doubt, is the result of the vaccinations.”
The mayor noted the city still has not reached President Joe Biden’s target of getting 70% of Americans at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4. Arwady said approximately 63% of Chicagoans have had at least one dose so far.
“We’ve got a lot more work that we need to get done, so keep pushing vaccine, but we’re on the right track,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot said young Black Chicagoans, between the ages of 18 and 25, are still lagging behind other demographic groups in getting vaccinated.
“We’ve got to get you vaccinated,” she said.
The mayor said, for those who still haven’t been vaccinated, the city will be announcing “a whole ray of incentives” to get a shot, although she did not elaborate on those plans.
Gov. JB Pritzker announced last month that the entire state is on track to fully reopen on June 11. That would mean no more capacity restrictions for any businesses.
Masks would still be required on public transportation, as well as in schools, hospitals, and in correctional facilities.
Arwady said people who haven’t been vaccinated should continue wearing masks in public, and businesses still have the option of requiring masks for all customers, if they can’t or don’t want to verify if customers have been vaccinated.