CHICAGO - Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday the return of festivals and the reopening of the United Center to Blackhawks and Bulls fans, a promising sign of the city's bounce back from the pandemic.
The "Open Chicago" initiative loosens COVID-19 capacity restrictions under Phase 4 and opens more public spaces due to positive coronavirus metrics.
Also, effective immediately, guests that are fully vaccinated will be able to attend private events such as weddings. The city defines full vaccinations as two weeks after people receive their final vaccine dose.
"We have made significant progress over the past few weeks in daily case counts, test positivity, and other important metrics, allowing us to further reopen Chicago," CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. "While this is an exciting moment, I have to warn everyone that we are not out of this pandemic yet, and we need to continue to be safe and smart
Among the changes are:
- Restaurants and bars: Indoor capacity can increase to the lesser of 50% or 100 people.
- Spectator events, theater, and performing arts: Large indoor venues, including the United Center, can now operate at 25% capacity.
- Meetings, conferences, and conventions: Large indoor venues can now operate at the lesser of 25% or 250 people.
- Places of worship: Large indoor venues can now operate at 25% capacity.
- Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events: Operate at 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft.
- Flea and farmers markets: Operate at 25% capacity or 15 people per 1,000 sq. Ft.
Starting Monday, the United Center will be open to fans at 25 percent capacity with full-season ticketholders getting first priority on tickets.
The Windy City Smokeout will be the first street festival to return to Chicago this summer. Everyone attending the event will be required to be fully vaccinated. It will take place July 8 through July 11 in the United Center parking lot.
Tickets are on sale now here.
"Despite the unimaginable challenges that were thrown our way last year, we were still able to persist and come together to slow and stop the spread of this virus and put our city on the right path toward a safe reopening," Lightfoot said in a statement. "Open Chicago is not only the direct result of these efforts, but it also serves as the latest step in our mission to fully restore a sense of normalcy within our city by bringing back and reimagining some of our favorite summer- and fall-time activities."
For more on the city's reopening plans, click here.