Chicago to join state in fully reopening on June 11, Lightfoot says

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday that the City of Chicago will join Illinois in progressing to Phase 5 of reopening on June 11.

The state of Illinois is expected to fully reopen next week as cases decline and COVID-19 vaccinations continue.

With half of adults in the US and in Illinois now fully vaccinated, the state continues to offer incentives for more folks to get their shot.

Lightfoot had initially set her sights on a full reopening by July 4th.

A full reopening means no more restrictions or capacity limits on businesses.

However, officials say face masks will still be required in schools, in health care settings, on public transit and in some businesses.

"The numbers are looking great. Better than they’ve been, I think, through the entirety of the pandemic," the mayor said, pointing to the 135 cases-a-day in Chicago and to the city’s 2% test positivity rate. "We’ve done great work as a city."

Joe Shanahan is founder of Metro Chicago, a concert venue in Wrigleyville. He also owns The GMan Tavern located next door and requires his staff and patrons to be fully vaccinated. Customers must show their ID and a copy of their vaccination record to enter the building.

Shanahan says it will be the same protocol once doors open at Metro.

"For right now, I feel that all patients and staff should be vaccinated, until we figure out which way to go," Shanahan said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has confirmed the state also remains on track for the full reopening June 11, as most COVID-19 metrics are at the lowest levels of the pandemic. The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday reported 674 new cases diagnosed among 55,432 tests, keeping the average statewide positivity rate at an all-time low of 1.5%.

The reopening of Illinois next week follows 15 months of rules that at times included a ban of indoor dining, all-remote learning at public schools, a stay-at-home order and other constraints in the name of public health.

In addition, the Chicago Marathon will also be back this year. It is scheduled to resume October 10th with at least 35,000 participants. Potential new safety protocols include mask wearing when you are not in the race course and proof of a negative PCR test or vaccination record.

Despite Lightfoot’s announcement on Thursday, the number of Chicago residents vaccinated against COVID-19 remains a concern. About 41% of the city’s residents are fully vaccinated, state records show. Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said her goal was 70% of the city’s adult population getting a first dose by July 4, a target she acknowledged was ambitious with the current rate at 63%.

"Before people uncork the Champagne and have beers all around, a note of caution: COVID’s still here, still with us, and why we are able to do what we’re doing, no doubt, is as a result of the vaccinations," Lightfoot said.

Stream the mayor's full comments on reopening below.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.