Reopening Chicago: Mayor Lori Lightfoot sets June 3 date for Phase 3 reopening

Parks and libraries set to reopen on June 8
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday that Chicago will move into Phase 3 of the city's reopening plan on June 3.

Mayor Lightfoot made the announcement at a press conference Thursday afternoon. The move allows restaurants and coffee shops to reopen with a focus on outdoor space. Small retail stores, office buildings, hair and nail salons, barbershops, and child care centers can also reopen.

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"This is an exciting moment for our city," Mayor Lightfoot said. "The world will be watching how we do and I want to make sure that when those reports start coming out, that Chicago is a model for the nation and the world that we came out of stay-at-home in a smart, sensible manner because our residents understood each of our obligations to be safe and the things that we needed to do to get there."

City services that have been closed to the public, including park facilities and libraries, will reopen on June 8. The lakefront will remain closed.

Strict social distancing and wearing a face covering are still required during Phase 3. Office buildings will only reopen to 25 percent of their capacity. Retails, restaurants and other service sector business can also only open to a fraction of customers.

Child care centers will take on health checks and special cleaning procedures.

"We check the child's temperature three times throughout the day, we check staff's temperature throughout the day," said Azra Hadzic, owner of West Town Daycare.

West Town Daycare has been caring for children of essential workers since early April, and staff there has become accustomed to COVID-19 cleaning procedure.

"Every 20 or so minutes we are sanitizing touchpads, cleaning the classroom," Hadzic said.

"While we as a city have made tremendous progress on many of the health-based metrics necessary to move to phase three, the last thing any of us wants is to experience a set-back that would mean another spike in COVID cases and deaths," said Dr. Arwady. "I'm particularly concerned about the communities and people who have been most impacted by this outbreak because they will experience any resurgence more than others. We need to continue to take this seriously as we move into the next phase."

Earlier this week, Mayor Lightfoot outlined industry-specific guidelines to follow for Phase 3 of reopening.

Following Governor Pritzker's plan, in-person dining is only allowed if a restaurant has outdoor seating, which the mayor admitted puts small neighborhood restaurants at a disadvantage.

"I talked at length with the governor about that, and I know he understands the importance of making sure we can give those restaurants that opportunity, not to be late for restaurants," Lightfoot said.

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Chicago business owners reacted with relief and hope after Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city will move into Phase 3 of reopening June 3.



"Well, when Governor Pritzker announced the food and beverage industry would be able to open their patios on May 29, super excitement all around, but then a couple hours later we found out from the mayor of Chicago that wasn't the case," said Franco Gianni, owner of Wood Restaurant.

It's been a challenging lockdown for the North Side restaurant owner.

"Wood is not typically a restaurant that does carry out and delivery because of the type of menu we serve, but our chef did pivot and manage to create a menu that was accessible for carry out and delivery," Gianni said.

Gianni said he's excited to welcome guests back to dine on the restaurant's patio

"We are lucky that we are on a corner, that we have outdoor dining space," he said. "So many other places don't have that opportunity."

"We've done some painstaking rearrangements as far as schematic ideals," said Donnie Madia, partner at One Off Hospitality.

Capacity means however many seats patios can hold with six-foot spacing between each. Many will be reservation only to avoid crowded sidewalks.

"Guests will have to wait in their car or get a text from us or a phone call to come in, your table is ready," Madia said.

Darren Rocha owns a barbershop on the Neath North Side, and said his clients have been reaching out to set up appointments.

"Everyone is excited, eager to get back to work, eager to serve the community," he said. "Our clients have been real patient. They have been hitting us up, 'Hey are you guys opening up?'"
But there's concern among many business owners that some of their clients and customers will continue to stay at home in the next phase.

"All of the unknowns is really the hard part about this," said personal trainer Joey Thurman. "So hopefully I can stay with what I am doing as a career, but I would be lying if I didn't say that I have had a lot of self-doubt during this time."

Moving into the new reopening phase, the mayor's office expects about 130,000 to return to work. If possible, employees are encouraged to continue working at home and employers are being asked to stagger shifts and be flexible so the city's public transit system isn't overwhelmed.

While she would not give a date, the mayor said she hopes at some point during Phase 3 summer programs, youth activities, religious services, gyms and the lakefront will reopen. The mayor said the city must be smart and slow about the lake; she doesn't want to see the same situation other states experienced over the holiday weekend with packed beaches.

"There is a lot that goes into consideration of how we open this back up, and boating is another part of it. I think we will be in a position to announce plans soon," Lightfoot said.

The rest of Illinois will be moving into Phase 3 of Governor JB Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan Friday.

READ: Mayor Lightfoot's full plan for reopening Chicago in early June
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