On June 11, Illinois officially reached Phase 5, meaning an end of nearly all of the state’s COVID restrictions. Since June 11, there are no capacity limits for bars, restaurants, gyms or other large venues and no social distancing requirements.
"I invite all Illinoisans to feel the hope and joy of this moment while also recognizing that this pandemic is still very present for the world at large,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement. “As we take this next step forward, let's do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to community, and to making each day together count. You did it, Illinois."
The state lifting restrictions means Chicago is now the largest city in the country to fully reopen. Masks remain a requirement on public transportation, inside airports, schools, hospitals and other congregate settings. But businesses are allowed to dictate their own rules when it comes to social distancing and masking.
"Due to the incredible progress we've made in our mission to stop the spread of COVID-19, I am thrilled to announce that we are able to safely transition into Phase 5 and become the first major city in the country to fully reopen," said Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot.
"Our ongoing vaccination efforts, which prioritize equity and inclusion, have made a remarkable difference in our COVID-19 journey and have resulted in the lowest positivity rate since the beginning of the pandemic. This progress, as well as ongoing initiatives such as Open Chicago, have allowed us to safely lift capacity limits and reconnect our residents back to the activities they love the most.”
Chicago Baseball Going Full Capacity
Previously, the Major League Baseball teams in the city, Cubs and White Sox, were forced to play in front of limited crowds.
The teams started with their home stands filled at 25% before raising the limit to 60% in late May. But Phase 5 means the teams were eligible to return to full crowds for home games.
The Cubs wasted no time in opening Wrigley Field to full capacity on June 11 for the team’s game against the Cardinals. The team sent out an email blast to fans about the tickets that remained available for what they called “opening day 2.0.”
“The fans are always top-notch, but when we’re playing well, they jump behind us even more,” Cubs first basemen Anthony Rizzo said of more fans at the games. “And when we’re not, they’re still behind us. That’s the beauty of it. That’s why being a Cub is so great.”
On the south side, the White Sox are targeting June 25 as the first day they’ll allow full capacity at Guaranteed Rate Field. It will mark the start of a weekend series against the Seattle Mariners. The organization announced a fireworks show would follow Friday’s game to celebrate the full reopening of Guaranteed Rate Field.
"Since the pandemic began, the entire organization has been looking forward to the day we could welcome all fans back home to see White Sox baseball in person," White Sox chief revenue and marketing officer Brooks Boyer said in a statement. "It's a night we're going to celebrate with all of the pomp and circumstance of our annual home opener."