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Mayor Lori Lightfoot Unveils Plan For Re-Opening The City

Colby Smith Colby Smith

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Unveils Plan For Re-Opening The City

Lightfoot’s plans complement Governor Pritzker’s 5-phase initiative for re-opening the state.

In a press conference with the Chicago Department of Public Health, Lori Lightfoot laid out the City of Chicago’s re-opening plan, which largely mirrors the state’s.

Earlier this week, Governor JB Pritzker unveiled his 5-phase plan for re-opening Illinois. The state is to open regionally, in five sequential phases depending whether or not its IDPH qualifications are met.

Presently, Illinois is in the second phase, wherein cases are flattening across the state. If this trend continues, Chicago can move into the third phase as early as May 29.

“We’ve begun to flatten the curve of Chicago’s COVID-19 cases. However, we must never confuse promising gains  without right of success. We are not at a point where we can start reopening our city, yet,” the mayor said.

“We will have a long way to go before we can safely return to the ways things were before…We have to do it the way we’ve always done it since the beginning of this pandemic: to be guided by the data and the science — our public health guidance. Period.”

Mayor Lightfoot then announced the Protecting Chicago Framework. A reopening plan that “enhances” Governor Pritzker’s outline of reopening the state, but is specifically designed for Chicago residents and businesses:

“A clear data-driven 5-phase process.”

The first phase follows the guidelines of stay-at-home and maintaining social distancing.

Chicago is currently in Phase 2, which adheres to the aforementioned guidelines, but also permits limited individual outdoor activity.

When the science and data allows, Phase 3 will commence as a limited reopening. Non-essential workers can return to their jobs in a phased manner. Select businesses, non-profits, and city entities will also be able to open if they can “demonstrate a plan for appropriate protections for employees and customers.”

“This phase also also allows for the limited re-opening of some public amenities. And small, non-business social gatherings limited to 10 people or fewer.”

The mayor reiterated that the phase would still require face coverings and social distancing. She emphasized the importance of the sick, vulnerable, and those that have come in contact with someone with COVID-19 staying at home.

Phase 4 would see a gradual increase in the city’s reopening. Additional businesses reopening, more restrictions being lifted, and additional public amenities being reopen. Citizens would continue to wear face coverings and socially distance themselves during this phase. While vulnerable populations would continue to shelter-in-place.

Phase 5 will entail the near complete re-opening of the city. Once the appropriate measures are met, remaining businesses will re-open, and the city would be able to have events, festivals, and concerts.

“This phase will be supported with workplace screenings and tests,” the mayor said.

The mayor discussed briefly the specific metrics required to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3 in the city’s plan:

“It really boils down to answering 4 key questions… Is there a decrease in the rate the disease is spreading?…Do we have testing and contact tracing available to track the disease and limit its spread?…Are there enough support systems in place for our vulnerable populations?…Can our healthcare system handle a potential case surge?”

“If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these. Then we simply cannot and will not move on to the next phase.”

The mayor said, if the data suggests, the city would take a step back if necessary.

More details regarding businesses and public amenities, the mayor said, will arrive in the coming weeks.

Additionally, the mayor encouraged citizens to take a city survey to engage in the dialogue of reopening the city.

“We have to maintain that vigilance and diligence and making sure that we are continuing to follow the public health guidelines,” the mayor said.

[Featured image via video still]