Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination and nonprofit institution, will begin its phased reopening on Friday, April 30, restoring public access to select outdoor spaces and attractions and cautiously resuming partial operations with public health and safety at the forefront.
As part of this initial phase, the following will be open and accessible to the public: Navy Pier parking garages, Polk Bros Park, Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion, North and South Docks, Pier Park (including select rides and attractions), East End Plaza, tour boats and cruises, the new Sable hotel, and select restaurants at limited capacity (per government guidelines). Hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday during this phase, although hours may vary per establishment. Navy Pier has been temporarily closed to the public since Labor Day to limit the financial impact and implications of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on the nonprofit organization and the nearly 70 small and local businesses it houses.
“Following Navy Pier’s longest closure in recent history, we are anxious to reopen our spaces and safely welcome guests back to the Pier,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “We recognize the critical role Navy Pier, as a key economic driver and cultural anchor for the city and state, plays in leading our community out of the devastation from the pandemic. With mass vaccination rollouts now underway, we are eager to help guests safely reconnect to Chicago and its most treasured experiences, and remain committed to helping revive the city and region.”
Navy Pier is able to initiate this phased reopening thanks to the generous support of its dedicated board of directors and key individual, private foundation and corporate donors. As an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Navy Pier relies on philanthropic contributions to advance its mission as a world-class public place that celebrates and showcases the vitality of Chicago and provides for the enjoyment of local residents and guests year-round. While this early philanthropic support funded the Pier’s reopening efforts, continued support from the donor community will be critical to ensure Navy Pier remains a transformative cultural and community resource for residents and guests, local artists, fellow nonprofit organizations and Chicago businesses.
To celebrate its reopening, the Pier will host a special 10-minute fireworks show every Saturday in May at 9 p.m. until Memorial Day Weekend. The first fireworks presentation on Saturday, May 1 will be dedicated to healthcare professionals and frontline workers in honor of their hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to helping our community navigate the ongoing pandemic. Guests are welcome to enjoy the display from the Pier’s open areas.
Restaurants and attractions that will be open as part of the initial reopening phase include Billy Goat Tavern, Giordano’s, Harry Caray’s Tavern, Margaritaville, Odyssey, Offshore Rooftop and Bar, Shoreline Sightseeing, Seadog and more. In addition, Sable at Navy Pier—the new 223-room, Hilton-operated hotel on the Pier—and its Latin-inspired restaurant, Lirica, opened in March and will continue to accept reservations. Pier Park will also resume operations on select rides and attractions, including the iconic Centennial Wheel, Pepsi Wave Swinger and Carousel. The opening of new rides will follow in the coming weeks. Both of Navy Pier’s parking garages will also resume operations at a $29 flat rate until Memorial Day Weekend. The rest of the Pier, including interior spaces, food experience, retail shops and other select attractions will reopen sometime in May, along with Navy Pier’s free community programs. The full reopening date is to be determined based on state and city guidance.
Upon reopening, guests can expect the same level of heightened public health and safety measures as last summer. In addition, Navy Pier has gone above and beyond to ensure that its safety practices are of the highest standard. The organization recently earned the GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation, the cleaning industry’s gold standard accreditation for outbreak prevention, response and recovery, from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a division of ISSA—The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association. The accreditation involved a comprehensive 20-element review process and thorough evaluation of the Pier’s facilities, cleaning procedures, staff training practices and more.
Navy Pier has also partnered with NTT Corporation, City Tech Collaborative and a consortium of other leading technology and design partners to implement a Smart Solutions pilot program, which will leverage a data-driven approach to enhance Navy Pier’s guest experience and existing safety measures. This innovative capacity intelligence program will allow the organization to carefully monitor guest volume and traffic across high-traffic zones on the Pier and alert staff members when a particular space or area is reaching its zone capacity. At that point, Navy Pier employees would make necessary adjustments to ensure social distancing practices and other safety protocols are maintained.
In addition to these new safety measures, returning practices and protocols include, but are not limited to:
- Standard CDC and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines: Guests must wear a face mask at all times while visiting Navy Pier and try to maintain six feet of distance between individuals who are not from the same party. Guests should also wash hands regularly and/or utilize the 90+ hand sanitizer dispensers available throughout the Pier. Those who are sick, have COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis, or have been exposed to someone with symptoms or diagnosis should stay home or seek medical attention.
- Physical distancing practices: Navy Pier has designated Social Distancing Ambassadors, who will be circulating the Pier to cordially remind guests to practice physical distancing. Signs marking appropriate amount of space are placed throughout the Pier for guidance. The volume of people at Navy Pier’s public programs, events and within indoor and outdoor spaces at a given time will be limited to a number that is proportional and conducive to physical distancing for that space. Gathering of large groups of more than 10 people are strictly prohibited. Guests in violation of these practices will be subject to removal from the premises.
- Employee training and expectations: Face masks or coverings will be required for employees while in public spaces. Temperature screenings will be conducted prior to each shift. Cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be provided to staff. Employees have also been equipped with guidance on individual health and safety measures and will receive ongoing training as new information becomes available from the CDC and CDPH.
- Multiple layers of stringent cleaning and disinfecting: Navy Pier is utilizing electrostatic anti-microbial spray treatments on all rides and sanitizing high-touch surfaces, common areas and Pier-wide attractions after each use with a disinfectant that is of the same quality found in healthcare facilities. In addition, more than 90 hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed and made available for guest use.
- Pier Park measures: All Pier Park rides and attractions will operate at a limited capacity and be cleaned after each use. Digital ticketing kiosk screens will also be sanitized frequently. Centennial Wheel riders will only be placed in gondolas with those within their party; gondolas and surfaces will be cleaned after each use.
- Parking garage measures: Parking personnel have been trained on physical distancing practices, proper handwashing, glove usage, disinfection protocol and other best practices for infection control. Navy Pier offers the following touchless, self-parking payment options: o Apple Pay and Tap features at pay stations and in-lane equipment. Online parking reservations through the Navy Pier website, ParkWhiz and SpotHero
The cleaning and safety measures outlined above will apply indefinitely until further notice. Given the fluidity and nature of the situation, Navy Pier is prepared to modify procedures as necessary. Click here for a full overview of the Pier’s COVID-19 safety measures.
A top civic space and nonprofit institution in Chicago, Navy Pier is home to nearly 70 independent businesses, several pop-up neighborhood markets, hundreds of annual events and many local artists who regularly showcase their work at the Pier, enriching the lives of Chicago residents and visitors, alike. Collectively, the on-site restaurants, retailers, attractions and nonprofit partners typically employ more than 3,000 people annually and contribute to the Pier’s reputation as one of the largest first employers for diverse young individuals in the city. In addition, the Pier typically hosts more than 250 free public arts and cultural programs annually to educate, inspire and connect communities across the city and globe. With the undertaking of its critical nonprofit mission, Navy Pier recognizes its responsibility to the greater Chicagoland community and is committed to restoring the vitality of the Pier, its partners and the local economy as the city works to recover from the pandemic and its harrowing impact.
For more information, visit the www.navypier.org