May 22, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot and CDPH Announce City on Track to Begin Reopening in Early June

Industry-specific guidelines to be released the week of May 25

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, alongside the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), today announced that Chicago is on track to be ready to move to phase three of its reopening framework in June given the progress on several key health metrics. The “Protecting Chicago” reopening framework lays out how the City plans to begin reopening amid COVID-19, and the details for each phase were informed by economic and health data, as well as a combination of input from industry and labor working groups, health experts and the public.

“The health and safety of residents have always been and will continue to be our singular, north star in dealing with this crisis,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “While our health metrics don’t allow us to transition to Phase Three just yet, their trajectory over these past few weeks suggests that Chicago will be prepared to make that transition in June.”

The City is predicting that Chicago will be ready in early June to transition from phase two (Stay-at-Home) to phase three (Cautiously Reopen), 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:

  • When in the presence of others, keeping 6 feet of physical distance apart and wear a face covering
  • Non-business, social gatherings limited to <10 persons
  • Phased, limited public amenities begin to open
  • Stay at home if you feel ill or have come into contact with someone with COVID-19
  • Continue to physically distance from vulnerable populations
  • Get tested if you have symptoms

Industry-specific guidelines will be released the week of May 25, and will 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 further safety for employees and customers. Phase three will be marked by a cautious reopening of certain industries at limited capacity, followed by incrementally increasing those capacities based on health criteria progression and adherence. Several industry sub-sectors will be allowed to open at limited capacity in early June, and their respective capacities may increase later in phase three. These sub-sectors include:

  • Childcare centers
  • In-home family childcare
  • Park facilities (non-Lakefront, does not include contact sports)
  • Libraries
  • Office-based jobs
  • Professional services
  • Real estate services
  • Hotels/lodging
  • Outdoor attractions (e.g. boating – not including The Playpen, non-Lakefront golf courses)
  • Retail stores (non-essential)
  • Personal services (e.g., hair/nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors)
  • Restaurants and coffee shops (outdoor dining)

Other industry sub-sectors may open later in phase three if proper safety measures can be put in place, and more information on those guidelines is still to come:

  • Summer programs & youth activities (e.g., Park District, private summer camps)
  • Religious services
  • Gyms
  • The Lakefront
  • Limited-capacity outdoor performances
  • Museums

Industries that are already open will continue or expand operations in phase three:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Warehousing
  • Hospitals
  • Dentists
  • Community mental health
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • Public transit
  • Regional transit
  • Rideshare & taxis

For the time being, schools, playgrounds, bars and lounges, and large venues (stadiums, indoor theaters, music venues, convention centers) will remain closed.

“We have said all along that the data and science will lead us in our decision making around the COVID-19 response and have been tracking the metrics on a daily basis throughout the outbreak. And I’m happy to say we continue to see positive trends in several key areas and are on track to move into the next phase of our response some time next month,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “While we’re not out of the woods yet and we all still need to take proper precautions, it’s clear the stay-at-home order and all the social distancing we’ve been doing has been working: we’ve prevented the health system from becoming overwhelmed and saved lives, and we should all be thankful and proud of that fact.”

Progress has been made on a set of health metrics that will allow Chicago to transition from phase two (Stay-at-Home) to phase three (Cautiously Reopen), however, if new data show the reopening has in any way become unsafe for Chicagoans, the City will swiftly move backward into Stay-at-Home. The City will continue to watch that data every day, paying particular attention to the Black and Latinx communities that have been most impacted by the outbreak.

Updates on the various epidemiological factors guiding reopening decisions include:

Declining Rate of New COVID-19 Cases:

  • COVID-19 Cases Rate (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average):
    • Goal: Declining rate of new cases, based on incidence and/or percent positivity
    • Progress: Daily case counts currently decreasing by 2.8% daily for 8 days (Black, non-Latinx rates stable or decreasing for 19 days; Latinx rates decreasing for 8 days; Asian, non-Latinx rates decreasing for 11 days; and White, non-Latinx rates decreasing for 17 days); Positivity rate currently declining for 19 days
  • Severe Outcome Rate (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average):
    • Goal: Stable or declining rates of cases resulting in hospitalization, ICU admission, and/or death
    • Progress:
      • Hospital admissions declining by 6.9% for 10 days
      • ICU bed occupancy currently stable or declining for 12 days
      • Rate of deaths currently decreasing by 3.6% per day for 5 days
  • Syndromic Surveillance:
    • Goal: Declining emergency department visits for influenza-like illness and/or COVID-like illness for 14 days
    • Progress:
      • Emergency department visits among Chicago residents with influenza-like illnesses currently decreasing 2.6% daily over 17 days;
      • Emergency department visits among Chicago residents with COVID-19 related illnesses currently declining 2.2% daily for 7 days

Adequate Hospital Capacity:

  • Hospital Capacity Citywide (over 14 days, based on a 7-day rolling average):
    • Goal:
      • Hospital beds: <1800 COVID patients
      • ICU beds: <600 COVID patients
      • Ventilators: <450 COVID patients
    • Progress:
      • <1,800 COVID-19 patients in acute non-ICU hospital beds
      • <600 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds
      • <450 COVID-19 patients on ventilators since beginning of epidemic

Adequate Testing Capacity:

  • Testing Capacity:
    • Goal: Ability to perform 4,500 tests per day
    • Progress: Currently conducting 4,300 tests per day 
  • Testing Percent Positivity Rate:
    • Goal: Community positivity rate: <15%
    • Progress: Community positivity rate currently at 20.5%
    • Goal: Congregate settings positive rate: <30%
    • Progress: Congregate positivity rate currently at 18.1%

Adequate Response Capacity:

  • Case Investigation & Contact Tracing:
    • Goal: Expanded system in place for congregate and community investigations and contact tracing
    • Progress: CDPH is in the process of reassigning and training staff members and partnering with local organizations to expand contact tracing and case investigation capabilities across the city.

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 their ability to pay or immigration status. For the latest updates and available resources, always check

As Chicago prepares to enter the next phase of reopening, many organizations 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 next week, using Chicago PPE Market, small Chicago-based organizations will be able to connect with a network of vetted local manufacturers and suppliers to access protective shields, 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.