CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday the launch of Open Chicago, the latest initiative to safely and fully reopen the city.
With the announcement comes the loosening of pandemic restrictions, including increased capacity for indoor events at the United Center and elsewhere, while allowing outdoor festivals and farmers markets to expand as part of a sweeping plan to reopen the economy to normal events for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The United Center received permission from city and state government officials to welcome fans back to the arena for Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls home games beginning May 7, at approximately 25% capacity.
Under the new Phase Four Regulations, effective immediately, most Chicago industries will have the ability to increase capacity effective immediately, including the following changes:
- Restaurants and bars: Indoor capacity can increase to the lesser of 50% or 100 people.
- Spectator events, theater, and performing arts: Large indoor venues, including the United Center, can now operate at 25% capacity.
- Meetings, conferences, and conventions: Large indoor venues can now operate at the lesser of 25% or 250 people.
- Places of worship: Large indoor venues can now operate at 25% capacity.
- Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events: Operate at 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft.
- Flea and farmers markets: Operate at 25% capacity or 15 people per 1,000 sq. Ft.
In addition, also effective immediately, guests that are fully vaccinated — defined as 14 days after receiving their final vaccine dose — will not count towards capacity limits at private events such as weddings.
Chicago has made significant progress in reversing the rise of its COVID-19 metrics that started in March and caused the city to pause its reopening plan. The reopening metrics have remained stable or decreased over the past two weeks, with the test positivity rate dropping to the lower-Risk level, below 5.0% earlier this week for the first time since late March.
The announcement comes just a day before Navy Pier begins its phased reopening.
The full reopening guidelines can be found at Chicago.gov/reopening.