Illinois Enters Phase 5 Of Reopening; Chicago Businesses Prepare For Full Capacity Friday

For the first time in more than a year, things will look a bit closer to normal in Chicago, as Illinois enters Phase 5 of reopening.

Video Transcript

- Now for the first time in more than a year, things will look a bit closer to normal in Illinois as we are in phase five of this reopening. And again, that means no more capacity limits. CBS 2's Mugo Odigwe is live with a look at how some businesses are planning to handle this change. Mugo.

MUGO ODIGWE: Yeah. Good morning, Marie. So one of the first businesses we spoke with is called Chicago French Press in the South Loop. They opened up for the first time ever September of last year, so in the middle of the pandemic. As you can imagine, this is the day they are really, really looking forward to. Owner Kris Christian and says some things worked in their favor when they first opened including this huge courtyard right outside her store at Roosevelt Collection Shops. It meant people could get their coffee and enjoy it outside socially distanced. But she was also excited about a full reopening will mean for her business.

KRIS CHRISTIAN: It's really for us about being ready, stocked, staffed to accommodate, you know, the influx of people. I think that, you know, we expect people to come out. The theaters is seeing heavier traffic. So I'm excited just to be able to accommodate and, you know, be able to have that customer experience that we've always wanted without, you know, this limitation or hesitation.

MUGO ODIGWE: Then there's Chicago Waffles also in the South Loop. A waitress here says not only were they dealing with shorter work days during the pandemic because customers just weren't showing up, it also affected their bottom line because tips dried up too. But today, today is a new day.

ERIKA ESTRADA: We're happy because we're gonna be, like, 100%. It's gonna be, like, more of us, more money. People can come and, like, enjoy our food. It's really good too.

MUGO ODIGWE: So keep in mind even with no capacity limits, businesses can still require masks and social distance. And in fact, most of the businesses we spoke with say the plan is if you're fully vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask when you come in. But they would really appreciate it if you're not fully vaccinated that you do wear a mask. We're live along the lakefront. Mugo Odigwe, CBS 2 News.