Chicago And Illinois Plan To Move To Phase 4 This Friday

Museums, zoos and summer camps will be allowed to reopen with capacity limits, and bars and restaurants will be able to offer indoor seating.

photo of people at Lincoln Park Zoo
In this Wednesday, June 13, 2012, photo, a group of children admire the flamingos at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. Under Phase 4 of both the city and state’s reopening plan, zoos will be allowed to reopen with capacity limits in place. Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press
photo of people at Lincoln Park Zoo
In this Wednesday, June 13, 2012, photo, a group of children admire the flamingos at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. Under Phase 4 of both the city and state’s reopening plan, zoos will be allowed to reopen with capacity limits in place. Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press

Chicago And Illinois Plan To Move To Phase 4 This Friday

Museums, zoos and summer camps will be allowed to reopen with capacity limits, and bars and restaurants will be able to offer indoor seating.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker both announced plans to further reopen the city and state come Friday.

Under both the state and city plans, people can expect to be able to access indoor seating in bars and restaurants and the reopening of museums, zoos, performance venues and summer camps, with some limits on capacity. 

Under Phase 4, which Lightfoot’s administration dubbed “Gradually Resume,” city health officials are relaxing social distancing requirements, allowing gatherings of up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Only performance venues with seating capacity will be allowed to open. Visitors to the Lincoln Park Zoo are encouraged to register their visit in advance on the zoo’s website.

“The service and sacrifice made by Chicagoans from every corner of our city and every walk of life has allowed us to safely reach the point where we are now,” said Mayor Lightfoot in a statement.

Playgrounds will remain closed. Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said playgrounds are “not a social distance place,” and she’s concerned with the risks of having children mingling on the playground. Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly said some small towns and cities have been disinfecting playgrounds “like every hour.” Kelly adds, “With 600 playgrounds in Chicago, it’s just impossible for us. It’s very hard to social distance in a playground.”

While Chicago has established its own parameters for opening the economy, Pritzker’s office said each region of the state is on track to graduate to Phase 4 of his Restore Illinois plan. Each of the four regions is meeting the metrics established by Pritzker’s office, including a low number of COVID-related hospitalizations and a low percentage of those tested for coronavirus testing positive.

In preparation for moving in Phase 4 of Pritzker’s reopening of the state’s economy on Friday, his office outlined new guidelines for a variety of entertainment, fitness, cultural and youth activities that the state has forced closed.

Restaurants can seat up to 25% of their capacity indoors and serve groups of up to 10 people. Museums and zoos can open, but are also limiting how many guests can enter to 25% capacity. Gyms can open to 50% of capacity, with classes limited to no more than 50 people in a room at a time. Indoor theaters will be allowed to admit the lesser of either 50 guests, or 50% of the theater’s capacity. And outdoor spectator events can seat no more than 20% of its capacity.

In addition, the state is revising its guidelines for some youth activities, including youth sports. Competitive sports can resume on Friday, with venues limiting capacity to 50%, and up to 20% capacity for spectators. Water-based activities can resume, with no more than 15 people in a group — or 50% of the facility’s capacity.

Offices, retail shops, hair salons and barbershops and manufacturers can continue to operate at a reduced capacity in Phase 4.

Pritzker’s administration estimates 400,000 more people will return to work once the state enters Phase 4.

Claudia Morell covers city politics for WBEZ. Tony Arnold covers state politics for WBEZ. Follow them at @claudiamorell and @tonyjarnold.