Dear Chicago Residents and Partners,
Chicago is on track to transition to phase four of the “Protecting Chicago” framework on Friday, June 26, alongside the rest of Illinois, allowing additional businesses and public amenities to open with limited capacities and appropriate safeguards. Although progress has been made in order to move to phase four, all residents should continue to abide by important guidance including: physically distancing and wearing a face covering; limiting non-business, social gatherings to 50 persons for indoor events and 100 for outdoors; staying at home if you are considered vulnerable, feel ill or have come into contact with someone with COVID-19; and getting tested if you have symptoms.
The following industries will open for the first time at the beginning of phase four in Chicago:
- Indoor seating in bars and restaurants
- Museums and zoos
- Performance venues
- Summer camps / youth activities
Phase four will also include adjustments to other industries that have previously reopened, and detailed information can be found at chicago.gov/reopening. To allow businesses and organizations to prepare for the next phase, Mayor Lightfoot, in partnership with CDPH, industry leaders, labor leaders, and public officials from around Chicago, released an additional set of industry-specific guidelines for businesses, employees, and customers to follow as the city moves into phase four. Industry-specific guidelines include details such as how businesses can encourage 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.
To inform businesses of the new guidelines for phase four, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) is holding a series of educational webinars this week. Webinars are being held for newly reopening industries such as arts/performance venues and museums and industries that will be following new guidelines in phase four, such as health and fitness centers and personal services. To register and learn more, visit chicago.gov/businessworkshops.
To move into phase four, Chicago had set a requirement of stable or declining cases along with a goal of reaching fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases per day, which it has now achieved, with a current 7-day average of 167 new cases per day. Based on the city’s population and national metrics from the CDC, this will move Chicago from a high-incidence to a moderate-high incidence level. Once Chicago has fewer than 100 new cases per day, the city will move to a moderate-incidence level by national standards, and gathering sizes and capacity limits can more safely increase.
CDPH will continue to follow the same health metrics to help guide the City’s decision-making process. The City recently launched a data dashboard where individuals can explore these metrics. For the latest COVID data, go to chi.gov/coviddash.
Mobile Testing – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot this week launched a COVID-19 mobile testing pilot program to further the City’s mission of reaching residents in communities that are experiencing a disproportionate impact from the COVID-19 virus. Each mobile testing site has the capacity to test up to 500 persons per day and has the flexibility to travel, allowing testing to be directed toward communities most impacted by the virus. Mobile testing sites will be working in close partnership with community organizations in order to best ensure the needs of local residents are being prioritized. The City will review the success of the pilot based on key metrics of percent positivity and testing volume to determine how to best expand the mobile testing offerings throughout Chicago, which will be done in coordination with outreach from Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) and the City’s Racial Equity Rapid Response (RERR) team. All residents are encouraged to self-monitor and get tested if they are feeling sick or have had a recent high-risk exposure to COVID-19, including participation in protests that have happened throughout the city and more social interactions amid the Citywide reopening. All tests at the city testing sites are free and all people regardless of citizenship status can be tested. You can find the mobile testing schedule or register to get tested at chi.gov/covidtesting.
Indoor Dining, Bar and Brewery Service – Starting on Friday, June 26, restaurants and bars will be able to allow indoor service at 25% capacity with a maximum capacity of 50 people per room or floor. Patrons must be seated at tables that are six feet apart with ten people or fewer per table. Seating at drinking establishments without a Retail Food Establishment License will be limited to a maximum of two hours per party. Alcohol sales at bars and restaurants for on-site consumption must still end at 11:00 p.m. each night, while the sale of alcohol for carryout or delivery must cease at 9:00 p.m. each night. While restaurants and bars will be able to cautiously reopen indoors beginning on June 26, operators should continue to make outdoor seating a priority for safe dining and drinking. To support outdoor service during phase three and throughout the reopening process, City Council last week passed critical temporary reforms to the sidewalk café permit to reduce fees, eliminate regulatory burdens and expand the opportunity for outdoor dining. Restaurants and bars are also eligible to apply for the Expanded Outdoor Dining Permit to expand operations into the street or private property. For more information about the City’s “Protecting Chicago” reopening framework, and to find industry-specific guidelines, please visit chicago.gov/reopening.
Expansion of Citywide Outdoor Dining Program – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot along with the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and Department of Transportation today announced an expansion to Chicago’s citywide outdoor dining program. The expansion will be in effect starting this weekend and will close streets in five additional neighborhoods to continue helping small and local businesses increase operations. The following areas are included in the expansion:
- Balmoral Street – closed on both sides of North Clark
- Chinatown Square – adjacent to Archer Avenue from Wentworth to Princeton
- Taylor Street – closed from Loomis to Ashland
- Oliphant Avenue – closed from Northwest Highway to the first alley to the North
- 75th Street – sidewalk dining areas from Indiana to Calumet
The expansion of the outdoor dining program comes after the successful launch of three outdoor dining pilot corridors on Broadway Avenue, Rush Street and Oakley Street. Over the past two weeks, corridors have provided important information for the City as expanded outdoor dining comes to additional neighborhoods. Based on interest from the participating businesses, hours and days may be adjusted for future dining in these locations. The continuation of the programming is ultimately under the jurisdiction of the local chamber of commerce. In addition to expanding the open streets outdoor dining program, the City has also approved permits for over 30 parking lots to allow businesses to expand capacity for outdoor service. The parking lot permits are immediately in effect and will allow businesses to conduct operations in the parking lot for up to 180 days.
Visions for Chicago’s Future: A Community Forum – On Wednesday, July 1, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will host Visions for Chicago’s Future: A Community Forum. The virtual event will bring together government, community, health, and business leaders to discuss visions for how Chicago recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.
The discussion moderated by Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, will look at how Chicago can meet the public health challenge of COVID-19, rebuild the economy, and ensure all residents share in a strong future for the city. The community forum will feature the following panelists:
- Allison Arwady, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health
- Helene Gayle, CEO, Chicago Community Trust
- Samir Mayekar, Chicago Deputy Mayor, Neighborhood and Economic Development
- Jennifer Scanlon, Chair, Commercial Club of Chicago, and CEO, UL
The forum will begin online at 9 a.m. CDT on July 1 and is open to the public and press. Register at cvent.me/zRbyL9 or visit chicagofed.org/chicagoforum for more information.
‘Together Now Grant Fund – The City is now taking applications for the $15 million Together Now grant fund which will help small businesses and not-for-profits in Chicago that have experienced economic distress and significant operational losses due to COVID-19, or have experienced damage from events of the weekend of May 29 and beyond. The online application will be open to any eligible establishment throughout the City, and it will stay open until Monday, June 29, with grants distributed after the application deadline through a lottery system. Businesses that have experienced damage from the events related to the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd will be eligible for infrastructure grants of up to $10,000 to repair physical infrastructure damage. Businesses that have experienced at least a 25% revenue loss due to COVID-19 will be eligible for grants of up to $4,000 to cover operating costs that arose as a result of economic losses experienced due to the pandemic. To be eligible for either grant, businesses may not have more than 100 employees at any one specific location. Businesses applying for an infrastructure grant will need to provide proof of damage, including photos of damage, repair quotes or any other available materials. For more information about the eligibility requirements and to start the application process for the immediate Together Now fund grants, please visit chicago.gov/togethernow or cct.org/togethernow.
Personal Protective Equipment for Chicago’s Taxicab Industry – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno announced on Friday, June 19, the launch of a new program that offers subsidies to all Chicago’s taxicab medallion owners so that they can purchase the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they need to operate safely in Chicago. Under the program, the City is making available $200 per taxicab per year for reimbursements for face coverings, gloves, disinfecting products, partitions and other PPE products and service. Licensed Taxicab Medallion Holders and Taxi Affiliations are eligible to apply here for reimbursement today through a form which can be found on BACP’s website. To be eligible, taxicabs must be in good standing with the PACE Taxi Access Program (TAP), through which paratransit customers travel via taxicab at reduced rates for trips originating within the City of Chicago.
Fourth of July Events
Virtual Chosen Few Picnic & House Music Festival (July 4, 12–9pm, chosenfewdjs.com), featuring live-streamed performances and DJ sets from the Chosen Few DJs: Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hatchett, Alan King, Andre Hatchett, Terry Hunter, and Mike Dunn — plus special guest performers Byron Stingily and Carla Prather, and comedian, actor, and DJ Deon Cole. Presented with support from DCASE. For details, visit chosenfewdjs.com and join the conversation on social media using #ChosenFewDJs and #Chicago4th.
SummerDance in Place (July 4, 5–6:30pm, youtube.com/chicagodcase), a special Fourth of July edition of the new citywide, at-home version of Chicago SummerDance. Presented by DCASE with the Chicago Park District, the series invites residents to plan smaller, socially-distant dance parties of up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors — in their homes and backyards, on front porches, and elsewhere — connected via a live broadcast and social media. The July 4 program will include a 30-minute dance lesson by Latin Street (Salsa) followed by 60 minutes of music by Afinca’o (Salsa), recorded at Millennium Park. For details, visit chicagosummerdance.org and join the conversation on social media using #ChicagoSummerDance and #Chicago4th.
Festival Remixed: Independence Day Salute (July 4, 6:30–7:30pm, gpmf.org), a virtual expression of the Grant Park Music Festival’s popular annual holiday tradition, featuring the Grant Park Orchestra and conductor Christopher Bell with flutist Mary Stolper playing the American Flute Salute, baritone John Orduña performing God Bless America, along with Fanfare for the Common Man, Armed Forces Salute, America the Beautiful, 1812 Overture, Stars and Stripes Forever, and more. Presented with support from the Chicago Park District and DCASE. For details, visit gpmf.org and join the conversation on social media using #ClassicChicago and #Chicago4th.
Navy Pier will open from 10am to midnight on July 4 and welcomes guests for a safe experience with limited capacity. Its annual Fourth of July fireworks will not be held until the awe-inspiring display Chicagoans are used to can take place safely and in accordance with state and city health guidance to prevent gatherings of large crowds. For details about Navy Pier’s offerings, visit navypier.org.
Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, the Lakefront Trail, the 606 Trail, and most neighborhood parks will be open during Fourth of July weekend in accordance with CDPH guidance, to ensure the safety of residents and visitors alike.
For updates about DCASE programming, permitting and venues, visit chicago.gov/dcase.