Mayor Lightfoot and Local Industry Working Groups Release Industry Guidelines for Phase Three Reopening in Chicago

May 26, 2020

More than 130,000 Chicagoans will head back to places of work in phase three

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334 /

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), industry leaders, labor leaders, and public officials from around Chicago, today released industry-specific guidelines for businesses, employees, and customers to follow as the city prepares to begin safely reopening in early June. Industry-specific guidelines include details such as how businesses can engage in healthy interactions between workers and customers, how to maintain safe working spaces and conditions, and how to design and monitor workplace operations to create flexibility and maintain safety for employees and customers. The guidelines are aligned with the State-issued guidelines, with specificity included for Chicago’s context. Guidelines for the following industries, which will open the earliest in phase three in Chicago, can be found at Materials will be made available in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Polish, Hindi, Urdu, and Tagalog this week.

  • Education & Childcare
    • Childcare
  • Buildings & Real Estate
    • Commercial Buildings
    • Residential Buildings
  • Food Service
  • Accommodations & Tourism
    • Hotel & Accommodations
    • Parks & Outdoor Attractions
  • Retail
    • Retail
    • Personal Services
    • Health & Fitness Clubs
  • B2B
    • Manufacturing
    • Construction
    • Transportation & Warehousing
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Taxi & Ride Hail
“Our transition to Phase Three of our reopening framework represents a major step for Chicago and our journey to a safe and successful recovery from the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “These new industry guidelines were developed in close partnership with industry leaders in order to provide as clear of a direction as possible on how to keep both employees and customers safe, but our work is far from over. In the coming weeks, we will continue working closely with representatives from across our city’s industry, labor, health, public service, and faith communities, along with others, to ensure every step we take is informed by the data and science of this disease, and supports our mission of recovering from this crisis more resilient, more prosperous, and more powerful than we’ve ever been.”
Specific guidelines for sporting events, religious services, outdoor performances, summer programs and youth activities, the Lakefront, and museums will be available later in phase three when those entities are predicted to begin reopening. 
The industry-specific guidelines were driven by health activity requirements and developed in coordination with 10 industry working groups, representing more than 200 individuals. The guidelines were then reviewed by multiple key stakeholders and approved by CDPH to ensure businesses and industries will be protecting their employees and members of the public who may patronize them. In order to support the more than 130,000 estimated Chicagoans who will head back to their places of work in phase three, a robust enforcement strategy, which will be led by the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and CDPH, will be put in place to keep employers, employees and customers safe. This includes the portal where businesses can find the specific industry guidelines, local and national resources, self-certification questionnaires and FAQs. Businesses or organizations with specific questions as they relate to their reopening in Chicago should reach out to 311. BACP will hold a series of webinars beginning this Friday, May 29. For more information and to register, click here.
“As we begin the road to recovery, it is critical that all Chicago businesses follow the guidance released today to reopen safely and responsibly,” said Rosa Escareno, BACP Commissioner. “The health and safety of our residents has to remain the priority, and these guidelines give Chicago’s businesses a roadmap to begin reopening while protecting our community.”
In addition to industry-specific guidelines, the City of Chicago developed an overall gathering size requirement for phase three, which limits non-essential gatherings to no more than 10 individuals. As part of this requirement, “gathering” is defined as a planned or spontaneous event where individuals are interacting with non-household members within close proximity (less than six feet) for an extended time period for the same purpose.
As Chicago prepares to enter phase three, many small businesses around the city are faced with the challenge of acquiring affordable supplies to help protect their workers from contracting or spreading COVID-19. To avoid supply chain bottlenecks and health risks, it is critical that these organizations gain access to these resources through a streamlined process. To support safe and efficient reopening, the City has partnered with local startup Rheaply to launch “Chicago PPE Market”, a program that will facilitate access to PPE for Chicago’s small businesses and nonprofits. Beginning today, using Chicago PPE Market, Chicago-based organizations will be able to connect with a network of local manufacturers and suppliers to access protective shields, reusable face masks, and hand sanitizer at cost-controlled rates. With Chicago PPE Market, small businesses and nonprofits can easily and affordably access the equipment and supplies necessary to keep staff and customers safe. Buyers can register for the Chicago PPE Market here and then check their email for a link to access the online platform. To use the Chicago PPE Market, buyers browse available listings for reusable face coverings, hand sanitizer, and protective shields; request to purchase specific PPE based on their desired quantity and the advertised price; and communicate directly with the supplier through the in-platform messaging feature to agree on payment and pick-up or delivery details. More items may be added over the coming weeks.
“As a Chicago small business, we understand the critical importance of helping to keep our community safe,” said Garry Cooper, CEO of Rheaply. “We are proud to partner with the City of Chicago to protect and support the city’s small businesses and nonprofits during this unprecedented time.”
Chicago is on track to transition from phase two (Stay-at-Home) to phase three (Cautiously Reopen) in early June, which will still require strict physical distancing but would begin to allow for some industries to start reopening. Regardless of industry reopening plans, all residents should continue to abide by important guidance in phase three, including: physically distancing and wearing a face covering; non-business, social gatherings limited to <10 persons; staying at home if you feel ill or have come into contact with someone with COVID-19; and getting tested if you have symptoms.
"Over the past several weeks, we have made tremendous progress in fighting COVID-19, containing its spread and saving lives," said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. "We must not lose the progress we have made. The virus will not miraculously vanish. When businesses and public places begin to reopen, residents return to work, and we all start going out more, it's crucial to continue following public health guidance - ensure a safe and healthy workplace, keep your distance and wash your hands."
While the City has seen significant progress along many health-based metrics necessary to move from one phase to the next, all residents still need to take proper precautions. As more businesses begin to open and people go back to work, it is crucial to continue social distancing, wear a face covering, and practice good hand hygiene to protect ourselves and those most vulnerable. Anyone who is sick or has been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19, please stay home and ask a doctor if a test is needed. COVID-19 testing is free and available to everyone, regardless of one’s ability to pay or immigration status. For the latest updates and available resources, always check