CHICAGO — The entire state of Illinois is preparing to move into Phase 3 of reopening next week — but things will look different in Chicago than they do elsewhere.
Phase 3 is set to begin May 29. It will signal the reopening of salons, retail stores, offices and more. Groups of 10 people or fewer will again be allowed. Gov. JB Pritzker even announced earlier this week that restaurants and bars will be able to have outdoor dining and state parks will reopen.
But that’s not necessarily the case for Chicago.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’ll speak at a Friday press conference about what Phase 3 will look like here. Officials will “give guidance to folks” during that time, Lightfoot said.
Already, Lightfoot has said the city won’t be able to have outdoor dining for restaurants, though that could come later in June. And the lakefront and other popular trails, including The 606 and the Riverwalk, will remain closed for now.
“There’s no vaccine. There’s no cure,” Lightfoot said. “We’re still at risk. COVID’s still here. It’s still getting people sick and people are still dying. So no matter what phase we move into, until we get a vaccine, the basic precautions that we have all know well … are still gonna be in play.”
Chicago has been a hot spot for coronavirus in the state and the country. More than 1,800 people have died from COVID-19 in the city, and nearly 40,000 people have tested positive — though many more were likely infected but never got a test, officials have said.
That means Chicago has to move slow to prevent the virus from spreading and more lives being lost, Lightfoot said. She emphasized Thursday she doesn’t care if nearby cities like Evanston or bordering states like Wisconsin are opening up, saying all of Chicago’s reopening decisions would be made using data and science to protect people.
“When I find myself in the circumstance of calling the survivors of people who have died, I don’t want their deaths to be in vain because we are so fixated on a moment of pleasure that can impact our city for a lifetime,” Lightfoot said. “And, yeah, I will say the same thing that I tell my 12-year-old: I don’t care what other people do. You’re my kid.
“I am the mayor of this city; I have a responsibility and an obligation to speak the truth even when people don’t want to hear it, even when it’s hard, because that’s what’s the right thing to do.”
Even when more places do reopen, people must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing, Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot’s press conference is at 1 p.m. Pritzker has his daily coronavirus briefing at 2:30 p.m.
• There have been 102,686 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Illinois as of Thursday afternoon. Many of those patients have recovered since testing positive.
• At least 4,607 people have died in Illinois as a result of the virus.
• There have been 39,756 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chicago and at least 1,830 people have died.
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What’s Happening In Chicago
• Child Care: Parents return to work next week, but day cares and camps are still closed. They’re struggling to get help for their kids.
• Mental Health: Lightfoot urged Chicagoans to embrace their feelings and find ways to care for themselves, saying she’s allowed herself to cry during the pandemic.
• “We’re Not Them”: Lightfoot said Chicago won’t rush to reopen like Florida and Georgia and will instead focus on saving lives.
• Churches: At least three Chicago churches were cited for holding in-person services during the stay at home order.
• Unemployment: A staggering 1 million people are out of work in Illinois, according to newly released data.
• Phase 3: Here’s what to expect when the state moves into Phase 3 starting May 29.
• Salons: Barber shops and salons are preparing to reopen with new safety measures.
• Small Gyms: Workout reservations and temperature checks could be on the docket as small gym owners get ready to safely reopen.
• Contact Tracing: Pritzker is ramping up the tracing program that intends to isolate every person known to be in recent contact with someone who has newly confirmed case.
• Masks: Two local designers have switched from high fashion to protective masks as part of the city’s effort to provide 1 million reusable cloth masks to Chicagoans.
• Domestic Violence: Demand is spiking at domestic violence shelters, but they’re losing beds for social distancing.
• Undercounting Deaths: The number of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois is likely higher than what’s been reported, said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
• Food Delivery: Services like Grubhub and DoorDash will soon have to tell customers just how much they’re charging restaurants for delivering food. The city is pushing for more transparency from the services as restaurants struggle during the pandemic.
• Masks: Everyone is now required to wear a face covering or mask when unable to social distance. And yes, stores can require you to wear a face covering if you want to shop.
• Testing: Officials are now saying anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get tested in Illinois. Before, they’d advised most people to simply stay at home and assume they had coronavirus.
Coronavirus can be deadly, but the vast majority of cases have been mild. Those most at risk from the virus are people who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions.
Symptoms of coronavirus can appear two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. People with no symptoms may have the virus and spread it to others.
The virus spreads between people through coughing and sneezing, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The most common symptoms:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chills and shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste and/or smell
People have also experienced body aches, nasal congestion and runny nose, according to Harvard Medical School.
If you or someone else has difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, become confused, cannot be roused or develop a bluish face or lips, get immediate medical attention, according to the CDC.
How To Protect Yourself
Here’s what you can actually do to prevent getting ill:
- The CDC and other officials have said people should wash their hands often, including before, during and after eating; after using the bathroom; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
The CDC has a guide here for how to properly wash your hands. Remember: Wash with soap and water, scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch frequently, like cellphones and light switches. Here are tips from the CDC.
- Stay home when you’re sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you have to sneeze or cough with a tissue, throw it out immediately after using it, according to the CDC.
What To Do If You Think You’re Sick
Even if you’re not showing symptoms, the Chicago Department of Public Health recommends people coming from high-risk countries (here’s a CDC list) self-quarantine for 14 days after returning home.
If you do have symptoms of coronavirus, contact your primary doctor or a health care facility before going in. Explain your symptoms and tell them if you’ve come into close contact with anyone with coronavirus or traveled to an area where COVID-19 is widespread (here’s a CDC list) within the last 14 days, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
From there, the experts will work with your local health department to determine what to do and if you need to be tested for coronavirus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
And, of course, if you think you’re sick with coronavirus, don’t risk exposing other people to the virus. Anyone who feels unwell has been ordered to stay home or risk getting a $500 fine.
Those with questions and concerns about coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 800-889-3931.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
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