Chicago COVID restrictions loosening for restaurants, theaters, festivals, more

Mayor Lightfoot announced loosening Chicago COVID restrictions Thursday at Navy Pier.

Video Transcript

JESSICA D'ONOFRIO: Tanja and Terrell, you really should be smiling here. The mayor is calling this Open Chicago, her latest initiative to fully re-opening the city. Now, Lightfoot is saying that she will be loosening phase 4 regulations to allow for higher capacities across industries immediately, citing test positivity rates dropping and vaccination efforts. That means effective immediately, restaurants and bars can increase to the lesser of 50% capacity. Operating hours will also be expanded.

Theater and spectator events, including the United Center, can operate at 25% capacity. Meetings, conferences, and conventions can now operate at 25% capacity, along with places of worship. Festivals and outdoor spectator events can also operate at 15 people per 1,000 square feet, and flea and farmers markets can do the same.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: Now, I'm thrilled to announce that we are able to broadly loosen capacity restrictions across industries starting today, which allows us to welcome back fans to the United Center, reopen Navy Pier and our lakefront beaches, bring back the Windy City Smokeout, our iconic country music and barbecue festival, as well as a number of summer street festivals, and bring back several other beloved summer and fall activities, thanks to our new Open Chicago initiative.

JESSICA D'ONOFRIO: Very exciting. The mayor making the announcement within the last half hour here at Navy Pier, which will begin reopening tomorrow. She's also talking about expanding activities at Chicago parks and closing down certain streets across the city to accommodate walking, biking, and outdoor seating. Also, a very interesting note about loosening these capacity restrictions, effective immediately, if guests are fully vaccinated, they will not count towards capacity limits at private events such as weddings. Again, the city is still putting a huge emphasis on safety here, urging residents to keep social distancing, wear your mask, and of course, they're urging people to get vaccinated.