Video: The mayor signals a reopening day for the city. Amanda Vinicky has a COVID-19 update on “Chicago Tonight.”
Chicago is on track to fully reopen — with no restrictions on businesses — by July 4, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday, while announcing that the Chicago Auto Show will return to McCormick Place on July 15-19.
One of the “grimmest” memories of the COVID-19 pandemic was when city officials told leaders of the Chicago Federation of Labor that McCormick Place would have to shut down, Lightfoot said in the structure’s west building, flanked by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“It was a grim day, it was a sad day, people were worried about their livelihoods,” Lightfoot said. “But now, we’re back.”
The 113th edition of the Chicago Auto Show will be the first convention to return to Chicago since the pandemic began in March 2020, Lightfoot said.
Attendees will not have to show proof of vaccination, but will have to fill out a health disclosure form and wear a mask, said David Sloan, president of the Chicago Auto Trade Association.
The return of conventions — part of the engine that fuels the city’s economy — is a major step toward normalcy after a harrowing year, Lightfoot said.
Conventions at McCormick Place generate more than $1.9 billion in economic impact to the city and state, said Glenn Eden, chair of the Choose Chicago board of directors.
“Our goal, ladies and gentlemen, is to be fully open by July 4,” Lightfoot said, urging Chicagoans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
That is in line with a deadline for overall reopening set by President Joe Biden soon after he took office in January.
Lightfoot said the progress Chicago has made since mid-April in stopping the spread of the pandemic means the city is on track to meet that goal.
An average of 508 Chicagoans have been diagnosed each day with the coronavirus during the past week, a 7% decrease from the previous week, according to Chicago Department of Public Health data. The city’s test positivity rate has dropped to 4.6% from 4.8% during the past seven days, according to city data.
“We are seeing on a daily basis steady progress in all of the metrics we follow,” Lightfoot said, adding that city projections expect that trend to continue as more people get vaccinated. “I feel very confident that we can get there.”
The goal is to reduce all capacity and operational limits on businesses, but said masks could still be required in some situations, Lightfoot said.