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Mayor Lightfoot: 'Protecting Chicago Framework' 5 Phase Gradual Reopening

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Days after Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced plans for a gradual and regional reopening roll-out for the state, Mayor Lori Lightfoot released information on her five phase plan for the city.

Mayor Lightfoot unveiled "Protecting Chicago's Framework" that details several phases as to where the city is in terms of COVID-19 rates (the city is currently in phase two of five) and how businesses can reopen through the multi-tiered system.

Like the governor's plan, the city's reopening plan will also take place in five phases. The mayor said Chicago is now fully in phase two. But Lightfoot said phase three could see more things reopen than previously expected with creative thinking and adequate and proper safety measures.

She gave Chicago residents and businesses hope that phase two of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order may soon move to phase three.

Nothing, Lightfoot said, is expected to change before May 30. But if cases are down for 14 days, testing is up, and hospitals can handle a surge, phase three could begin in a few weeks.

"Though we still have a way to go before we can begin reopening our city, when the time comes, that reopening will follow our thoughtful, data-driven process aimed at ensuring all our residents and businesses are informed and supported every step of the way," Lightfoot said.

She said phase three includes phasing non-essential workers back into the workplace and reopening select businesses and non-profits, along with gatherings of 10 people or less.  Phase four sees even more businesses and public places reopen, and phase five is almost a total re-opening of the city, which could include large events.

But unlike some states, the mayor won't get date-specific.

 

She said that she was aware at the staggering number of people who remain out of work and businesses who depend on people to purchase their goods and services.

"When faced with an urgent crisis with scores of businesses struggling to survive, particularly, our small and micro businesses many of whom were truly hanging on by a thread. Based on the numbers we are seeing, if these businesses don't open soon, many will be forced to close their doors entirely. And so, to our businesses. I want you to know we are doing everything we can to keep that from happening," Lightfoot said.

But the mayor did explain why Chicago hasn't moved out of the phase two category.

"Is there a decrease in the rate the disease is spreading? Critically important. We have seen progress but not a decrease yet. Do we have testing and contact tracing available to track the disease and limit its spread. Are there enough systems, support systems in place for a vulnerable population? And last, can our healthcare system handle a potential case surge," Lightfoot said. "If the answer is "no" to any of these, that we simply cannot and will not move to the next phase."

Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said this plan does not conflict with the governor's plans.

"In terms of operating response and are congregant settings, we are looking to do universal testing, we anticipate, actually, we have already found many more cases including people who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic," Arwady said. "Having some goals and overall plans that we want to see decreasing is a completely different part of the response then what happens in a community-based settings. in the community-based settings, that is, who's getting tested through the provider whose coming into a hospital."

The mayor outlined the five stages and what would be required to meet each threshold:

PHASE ONE: STRICT STAY-AT-HOME (already completed)

*Limit the amount of contact with others; goal is to limit interactions to rapidly slow the spread of COVID-19

*Essential workers go to work; everyone else works from home

*Stay at home and limit going out to essential activities only

*Physically distance from anyone you do not live with, especially vulnerable friends and family

PHASE TWO: STAY-AT-HOME (currently in)

*Guard against unsafe interactions with others; goal is to continue flattening the curve while safely being outside

*Essential workers go to work; everyone else works from home

*Stay at home as much as possible

*Wear a face covering while outside your home

*Physically distance from anyone you do not live with, especially vulnerable friends and family

PHASE THREE: CAUTIOUSLY REOPEN

*Strict physical distancing with some businesses opening; goal is to thoughtfully begin to reopen Chicago safely

*Non-essential workers begin to return to work in a phased way

*Select businesses, non-profits, city entities open with demonstrated, appropriate protections for workers and customers

*When meeting others, physically distance and wear a face covering

*Non-business, social gatherings limited to fewer than 10 persons

*Phased, limited public amenities begin to open

*Stay at home if you feel ill or have come into contact with someone with COVID-19

*Continue to physically distance from vulnerable populations

*Get tested if you have symptoms

PHASE FOUR: GRADUALLY RESUME

*Continued staggered reopening into a new normal; goal is to further reopen Chicago while ensuring the safety of residents

*Additional business and capacity restrictions are lifted with appropriate safeguards

*Additional public amenities open

*Continue to wear face covering and physically distance *Continue to distance and allow vulnerable residents to shelter

*Get tested if you have symptoms or think you have had COVID-19

PHASE FIVE: PROTECT

*Continue to protect vulnerable populations; goal is to continue to maintain safety until COVID-19 is contained

*All businesses open

*Non-vulnerable individuals can resume working

*Most activities resume with health safety in place with some events resuming

*Set up screenings and tests at work or with your family

*Sign up for a vaccine on the COVID Coach web portal

The city wants the public's input on ideas for further reopening procedures. Lightfoot said people can fill out a confidential online survey for information.

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This is a developing story.

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