Spectator sports and conventions will remain closed, Lightfoot said today. "My expectation in the short term is that they will reopen, but without fans in the stands. My hope is, over time we will get to a place where we can start to see some fans in seats," she said, adding her administration is in contact with the major sports leagues here.
Chicago guidelines differ from the state's, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker revealed today, because "we're denser, more residents take public transit and we're an international air hub," the mayor said. The city has set a 25 percent capacity limit across industries, compared with the state's 50 percent limit, health officials said. Lightfoot said she understands opening so gradually causes economic damage, but her first responsibility is to save lives.
Face coverings are encouraged anytime someone leaves the house, Lightfoot said. "It's much better to educate people into compliance," rather than mandating mask-wearing. "It is the safe, smart thing to do."
Detailed information about other Phase 4 guidelines for businesses can be found here.
City officials expect 200,000 of Chicago's 1.4 million workers will be back at work during Phase 4. That's on top of the 130,000 employees the city expected to come back during Phase 3. That 330,000 figure represents a mix of those returning to their place of work after working remotely and those "previously displaced" returning to the workforce, Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar said today.
The transition to the city's fourth phase, "Gradually Resume," was possible because of a continued decline in newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases, the city said in a statement; Chicago has seen declines since peaking in early May. Testing has also increased. Hospitalizations, deaths and emergency department visits are down. The percentage of people testing positive is also down to approximately 5 percent, and the seven-day average rate for new daily cases is 167. See the latest COVID figures for the city and state in charts at the bottom of this story.
It's a quicker timeline than city officials initially anticipated. Earlier this month, they anticipated a July 1 move to the next phase. Asked why Chicago was moving faster, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said, "We've blown right past the benchmarks we'd set for moving to Phase 4. Our progress has been very, very good going back to May 5."
In a statement, she said Chicago still has a lot of cases, and "we're just now moving from a high-risk to a medium-high-risk city for COVID-19 spread, based on our numbers, and we need to move ahead cautiously. I can't emphasize enough the need for people and businesses to continue to abide by the public health guidance so we can avoid the spike in cases we're seeing in other cities and states that re-opened before us."
Arwady said today there is still a high chance that in larger gatherings, someone could spread the disease that's proven deadly to more than 2,500 Chicagoans. If Chicago had 200 new cases per day, there would be a 15 percent chance someone has COVID in a gathering of 50 people and a 30 percent chance someone has the illness in a gathering of 100 people.
While city, county and state officials are still working to beef up contact tracing efforts, "we feel good about where we are" in terms of being able to investigate cases, Arwady said. At least 90 percent of all new COVID cases are being assigned to be investigated within 24 hours, she said, and there is dedicated staff "that work on any place-based outbreaks" in long-term care facilities, the Cook County Jail and other correctional facilities, AG亚洲国际游戏homeless shelters, and where the city is already seeing increasing cases as the city reopens further: workplaces and schools.
Playgrounds, including splash zones, remain closed, as do beaches and public pools. Private outdoor pools will be allowed to open if they limit occupancy to 50 percent or 100 people max, whichever is less.
Among the places reopening: Lincoln Park Zoo, which will open to members on June 26 and to the rest of the general public on June 29. While it will remain free, the zoo will require a reservation, guests will have to wear masks and visitors will be directed through the zoo by one-way paths to facilitate social distancing. Indoor habitats will stay closed.
Outdoor dining districts are expected to open in Chinatown, along Taylor Street and in Andersonville in coming days, Mayekar said. The city's harbors officially opened today, and lakefront and river boat tours have begun with limited capacity.
The Chicago Transit ity will continue its 15-passenger limit on its 40-foot buses and its 22-passenger limit on 60-foot buses and in all train cars.