A Return to Normal? The City Opens June 11th.

The City of Chicago is on track to join the State of Illinois in moving to Phase 5 on Friday, June 11th. COVID-19 metrics are at record lows and more than 50% of Chicagoans are at least partially vaccinated. Moving into Phase 5 brings a return to life pre-pandemic. This includes a lifting of all COVID regulations at businesses. Federal mask mandates will still require masks on public transit, in healthcare settings and at schools.

In an appearance on Facebook live, Mayor Lightfoot said “The numbers are looking great…We’ve done great work as a city. Lots of individual sacrifices along the way. So I think we are ready to move to Phase 5 with the State next Friday, June 11th” .  Chicago’s vaccination rate currently stands at 63%, just under the 70% threshold to achieve herd immunity. Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago Health Commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady stressed the need for Chicagoans to be vaccinated.  Mayor Lightfoot particularly mentioned Black young adults in stressing the importance of being vaccinated. “Black Chicago young folks 18-24 we’ve got to get you vaccinated”, she said.

While the City and State prepare to move into Phase 5, Dr. Arwady and Mayor Lightfoot still stressed to proceed with caution as COVID remains. Phase 5 allows fully vaccinated residents to resume activities without wearing a mask unless required by federal, state, or local regulations including businesses and workplaces. The phase also allows all business to operate at regular capacity including the return of conventions, festivals and large events.  It also removes the mandatory social distancing in venues and daily health screenings of employees and visitors.  Businesses and venues are encouraged to allow for social distancing if possible, particularly indoors.  Face coverings are still required for those unvaccinated.

While in Phase 5 residents will still require masks on public transit, airports, bus and trains stations, in congregate facilities, in healthcare settings and in schools. While the best place to get your COVID-19 vaccine is with your healthcare provider, the City of Chicago is operating multiple vaccination sites.

  • All City of Chicago-operated sites accept walk-ins. Appointments are preferred but not required.
  • Chicagoans age 12-18 are able to receive vaccination at all City of Chicago sites offering Pfizer vaccine.
  • Individuals under the age of 18 seeking vaccination need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
  • No Government issued ID or insurance required.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois currently has a positivity rate of 2%, the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic.

“This pandemic has robbed us of many of our freedoms such as going to ball games and concerts, celebrating graduations, weddings, and birthdays, going to dinner with friends, and even sharing a hug with loved ones we don’t live with,” said Illinois Department of Public Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “The vaccine is giving us our freedoms back and allowing us to move to Phase 5. Let’s keep the vaccination momentum going so we can put this pandemic in the rearview mirror and not look back.”


Danielle Sanders is a journalist and writer living in Chicago. Find her on Twitter @DanieSanders20.

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