Illinois Phase 5 reopening : State, Chicago fully reopen with nearly all COVID-19 restrictions lifted

CHICAGO (WLS) — The state of Illinois including Chicago have entered Phase 5 and are fully reopen, with nearly all COVID restrictions lifted.

The reopening means crowds of all sizes are allowed in restaurants. It’s great news for still-still struggling businesses as venues can return to full capacity without social distancing.

The state is still battling COVID, but the latest case numbers are low enough to reopen safely.

RELATED: Illinois face mask rules: Where masks are still required in IL

Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement Thursday: “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… 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.”

There are still some places that will ease into the loosened restrictions, like the North Side Music Box Theater. They plan to make changes over the next few weeks.

“A lot of them bought the ticket and are expecting social distancing, and reduced capacity, and mask enforcement and so we feel it would not be appropriate to pull the rug out from under them,” said Music Box General Manager Ryan Oestreich.

At Flossmoor Station restaurant and brewery, they’ve endured the ups and downs of the pandemic like thousands of other businesses. They plan to take a measured approach to full reopening. The outside patio will be at 100% capacity, but inside, the owner plans to keep things around 75% at least initially to make sure all customers are comfortable.

“We’re excited, but we’re cautiously excited,” owner Carolyn Armstrong said. “And I don’t want to just put a bunch of, cram a bunch of tables together. I want to kind of ease into it.”

“It’s been hard on everyone, and as a village we know that, so we’ve implemented steps to help our restaurants and to get them through this, so we’re real proud of everyone,” Flossmoor Village Trustee Jim Mitros said.

They are not the only ones. Keep in mind, everyone is still required to wear a mask on public transportation, in healthcare settings, schools, and more and they might be mandatory in other locations, too. Businesses can enforce their own rules on masks.

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