Despite the protests and violence that have wracked the city in recent days, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday that Chicago will enter Phase 3 of its recovery from the Covid-19 shutdown.
"After a lot of conversation with people on the ground whose lives have been shattered, and after a lot of consultation with local businesses, local chambers, local aldermen and other elected officials, everywhere I went, I asked the question: Should we open, or should we delay?" she said at a morning press conference. "And to universal acclaim, emphatically what I heard from people is, 'Mayor, we have to step forward. We have to open.'"
Wallace Goode with the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) both confirmed to the Herald before Lightfoot's announcement that some blocks of 53rd Street may close to vehicle traffic to allow more room for outdoor dining in the weeks ahead.
Downtown Hyde Park was proposed as one of the city's first stretches for the experiment — six will close across the city — but the city decided to see how the pilot progressed before including 53rd Street.
Lightfoot said even businesses that are not able to open because of the unrest told her that, because of weeks of preparation and with ready employees and customers, "They need to see us being resilient and recovering, even in the face of all the losses over 10 weeks, and particularly the devastating losses over these last couple of days."
Chicago will have experienced 74 days under a stay-at-home order when it lifts tomorrow. After a sharp increase in March, deaths from COVID-19 have been decreasing statewide over the last two weeks.
Under Phase 3, non-essential workers will be allowed to return to work in a phased way, with certain businesses, nonprofits and city entities allowed to open with protections for workers and customers. Face coverings will still be the norm, but social groups of 10 or fewer people will be allowed.
The Herald conducted interviews with businesses and entities from each category in the city's reopening plan and will share their plans in the days ahead.