Business, cultural venues reopen as Chicago lifts COVID mask, vaccination requirements

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ByLeah Hope via WLS logo
Saturday, March 5, 2022
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With the state's COVID positivity rate dropping, a number of business and cultural venues are now reopen throughout Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As the statewide COVID test positivity rate drops to 1.6%, a number of business and cultural venues are now reopen throughout Chicago. Some are removing COVID-related policies.

RELATED: COVID Illinois Update: IL reports 1,329 new cases, 40 deaths

The Adler Planetarium reopened Friday with no requirement for masks or vaccination.

And this weekend, 20,000 people are expected to be at McCormick place for The Inspired Home Show after a two year hiatus.

"It's great to see all the shows come back this year. Hopefully they get bigger and bigger and bigger, hopefully '23 is better," said Anthony Fagiano, Teamsters' Trade Show Division.

This is the first convention that is back since the city lifted the mask and vaccinations requirements. The general manager of McCormick Place says what will remains are the extra sanitation stations and more cleaning of high touch areas.

"The wearing of the masks, the vaccination requirements have gone away and we are back to operating more as normal," said David Causton, McCormick Place general manager.

But some venues still require COVID protocols.

For the Alvin Ailey performances at the Auditorium Theatre, patrons must wear masks and show proof of vaccination.

Within the Home Show at McCormick Place, attendees are required to show proof of vaccination and wear masks in common areas-- but at each booth the vendor can decide.

At Gibson Housewares, it will be mask optional.

"There are many states I talk to where they haven't been exercising masks for a long time so I think it's time," said Sal Gabbay.

Security officer James Gates is grateful for more work and plans to wear a mask throughout the show.

"There are 20,000 plus people so I'd rather have myself safe and be able to go home and keep my family safe even though I'm vaccinated and everything," said Gates.

Organizers say there may even be more attendees this week. As word spread of the Chicago mandates lifted, there has been a surge in last minute registrations, according to organizers.