Chicago Businesses Prepare For Phase 3 As COVID-19 Restrictions Continue

Chicago News

CHICAGO (CBS) —   June 3.

It’s the day thousands of businesses in Chicago have been waiting for. It’s when they can start to reopen.

And we’re just hours away from suburban stores and restaurants welcoming customers for the first time in weeks.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has the details on what will happen next Wednesday.

Chicago’s population density and health metrics are what have it a few days behind the rest of the state. It’s given the city a few days to release industry standards for reopening and now, business owners have their date June 3 to open their doors to the new normal.

With PPE in place, a touchless reservation system, Jason Williams said he’s cutting edge when it comes to safely reopening on June 3.

“Basically widened out all the chairs,” Williams said. “Before they were a little bit too close. It feels like it’s been forever.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the date the city’s first step into Phase 3 and partially reopening.

“This is an exciting moment. The world will be watching how we do,” Lightfoot said.

It includes not only hair salons, but also outdoor restaurant spaces,  hotels and lodging, and offices at 25% capacity. It could bring some 130,000 employees back to work and Lightfoot is asking for help in keeping mass transit running safely.

“For that to happen, we need businesses to stagger start times so as not to overwhelm the CTA,” Lightfoot said.

Daycare facilities will also be able to open their doors. Lakefront parks will remain closed, but park district areas to the west can reopen, just a bit later on June 8.

“Let’s be clear. Under no circumstances should a move to Phase 3 be confused with crisis over because it is not. COVID-19 is still very much a part of our present.”

Which is why Lightfoot strongly encouraged social distancing and mask wearing in all environments to guard against a spike in cases.

“If this happens we won’t hesitate to take necessary steps including moving back to phase two. So folks let’s just be smart,” she said.

Or as Williams might say, smart and working.

“It needed to happen to slow this virus down. Now we are ready to open again. We need some revenue.”

Many of these businesses will reopen with requirements for face masks, social distancing ,and limited capacity. For example, 25% in retail stores. Lightfoot said needs everyone to continue to make safety a priority, and if cases begin to spike, she’ls prepared to scale back and shut down.

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