Excitement abounds as Illinois fully reopens Friday

Illinois fully reopened Friday with loosened COVID-19 restrictions and a new excitement for being one step closer to normalcy.

On the eve of the state’s full reopening, you could feel the anticipation on the Near North Side where they were getting ready for the 71st Old Town Art Fair – which is happening this weekend.

Organizers say it is the first major festival in Chicago since 2019.


Here is what you need to know about the state fully reopening:

Simply put, all sectors of the economy can resume at regular capacity. The state will eliminate all capacity limits on businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks and all other venues.

However, there are some cases you must still wear a mask whether you are vaccinated or not – including on public transportation, which includes planes, trains and buses.

In addition, you must also wear masks in congregate facilities like prisons and homeless shelters, in health care settings, and in schools and day cares.

Remember, municipalities and businesses can still require masks and social distancing, as they deem appropriate.

Organizers of the Old Town Art Fair expect an estimated 15,000 art lovers this weekend and ask that people try to social distance when possible.

"Ultimate goal? To have as many people come, enjoy, buy art, have fun and feel like the city's coming back," said Chris Nelson, Vice President of the Old Town Triangle Association.

The full reopening comes at a time when health officials say the state recorded the lowest number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and the lowest test positivity rate.