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Phase 5 reopening in Illinois: State, Chicago reopens completely with almost all COVID-19 restrictions lifted

CHICAGO (WLS) – The state of Illinois and Chicago have entered Phase 5 and are reopening with almost all COVID restrictions lifted.

The reopening means that crowds of all sizes are allowed in restaurants. This is good news for still struggling companies, as venues can return to full capacity without social distance.

The state is still struggling with COVID, but recent case numbers are low enough to reopen safely.

RELATED: Illinois Face Mask Rules: Where Masks Are Still Required in IL

Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement on Thursday: “I urge all Illinoisians to feel the hope and joy of this moment, while acknowledging that this pandemic is still very much present for the whole world … As we take this next step forward “Let̵

7;s do it with a renewed commitment to empathy, community and making every day count. You did it, Illinois.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and other city leaders spoke about the reopening Friday morning outside Gibson’s Italia.

“Because of the incredible progress we have made in our mission to stop the spread of COVID-19, I am excited to announce that we are able to safely move on to Phase 5 and become the first major city. in the country, which is fully reopening, said Mayor Lightfoot. “Our ongoing vaccination efforts, which prioritize equality and inclusion, have made a remarkable difference in our COVID-19 journey and have resulted in the lowest positivity rate since the onset of the pandemic. This progress, as well as ongoing initiatives such as Open Chicago, has allowed us to safely raise capacity limits and reconnect with our residents to the activities they love most. With today’s announcement and even more residents continuing to do their part and get vaccinated, we are one step closer to being able to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror. “

Chicago is celebrating by partnering with Raise Marketplace and World Business Chicago to give away hundreds of gift cards until July 4th. $ 250 gift cards will be hidden at locations in all 77 Chicago neighborhoods to encourage people to return to local businesses. The gift cards can be used at the Raise Marketplace in more than 4,000 shops and restaurants in the city.

There are still some venues that will ease into the loosened restrictions, like the North Side Music Box Theater. They plan to make changes over the next few weeks.

“Many of them bought the ticket and expect social distance and reduced capacity and enforcement of masks, so we feel it would not be appropriate to pull the rug out from under them,” said Music Box General Manager Ryan Oestreich.

At Flossmoor Station’s restaurant and brewery, they have endured ups and downs in the pandemic like thousands of other businesses. They plan to take a measured approach to full reopening. The outside patio will have 100% capacity, but inside, the owner plans to keep things around 75% at least initially to ensure all customers are comfortable.

“We are excited, but we are cautiously excited,” said owner Carolyn Armstrong. “And I don’t want to just put a bunch, put a lot of table together. I want to be easy into it.”

“It’s been tough for everyone, and as a village we know it, so we’ve implemented steps to help our restaurants and get them through this, so we’re really proud of everyone,” said Flossmoor Village Trustee Jim Mitros.

They are not the only ones. Keep in mind that everyone is still required to wear a mask on public transportation, in health care environments, schools and more, and they may also be mandatory elsewhere. Companies can enforce their own rules on masks.

Cubs hosts ‘Opening Day 2.0’

Wrigley Field is becoming the most visible indicator that the city has reopened. The Cubs call it Opening Day 2.0.

They are pleased to welcome fans back to the full capacity ballpark for the first time since September 2019.

The Cubs start a home game with three games against their divisional competitor, St. Louis Cardinals.

As part of the transition to Phase 5, the club has changed its health and safety protocols. As of Friday, capacity restrictions for outdoors and indoors will be lifted, physical distance is no longer required in the ballpark, and pod-style seating will be eliminated.

To support full capacity, ports open two hours before the first pitch.

“I think it’s going crazy,” said Jarod Gaugrer. I’m really excited. Then there will be a lot of fans, just cool people who are excited. “

“Reopening day with 100 percent capacity, I mean, there’s nothing like going to a game at Wrigley Field with everyone here,” said Cubs fan Nicholas Ricciardi.

Cubs season ticket holders return for their season tickets, and Budweiser Bleachers return for general admission.

Meanwhile, the Cubs’ mask policy is based on a system of honor … if you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to wear one.

“One of our recent surveys showed that 96 percent of our season ticket holders were vaccinated, so the feeling is that people come to a ballpark knowing they have to sit next to someone … you’ll probably do everything , what you can do to ensure you are protected, “said Cubs VP of Communications Julian Green.

Wrigleyville bars will also have full capacity. For Sluggers, it’s more than about the revenue.

“We get back to what we’ve always known and how we know it is, and back to normal business and normal numbers, normal amounts of fun,” said co-owner David Strauss.

“So we actually got here early,” Cubs fan Lexis Curtis said. “We called people before just to make sure the bars were open at 10am, so we’m happy to just be out here and experience it all.”

The Ballpark’s non-contact access process and bag restrictions, implemented at the start of the regular season, remain in place, as do mobile tickets and cashless concessions and retail.

“Well, we followed the rules where we were going, so it made no difference to us as long as we come and enjoy the game,” said Cardinals fan Nick Bevis.

Die-hard Cubs tab Bill Murray is expected to sing the 7th inning draw. The first pitch is at 13:20

The White Sox plans to allow full-capacity crowds at the Guaranteed Rate Field on June 25th.

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