Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the move makes her city the largest US municipality to fully reopen.
“With today’s announcement … our economy is really poised to come roaring back,” Lightfoot told CNN on Friday morning, adding in a later news conference: “Now it’s time for you to get up, get out of the house this summer, and, fully and safely … enjoy the events of the best city on the planet.”
“It’s really for us about being ready, stocked, staffed to accommodate the influx of people,” Christian said. “We expect people to come out. The theaters (are) seeing heavier traffic. So, I’m excited just to be able to accommodate and be able to have that customer experience that we’ve always wanted without this limitation or hesitation.”
The decision came after vaccinations soared and coronavirus cases dropped. More than 68% of Illinois adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the governor’s office said.
Illinois’ seven-day average for new daily cases — 413 as of Thursday — is far below its peak for spring 2021 (3,388 on April 13) and its pandemic summit (12,384 on November 16), according to Johns Hopkins University.
“A strong economy requires that people not only feel safe, but truly be safe, as they go about their lives as workers, neighbors, consumers, and friends — and thanks to the lifesaving power of vaccinations, that day is finally here for Illinois,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in a news release.
“You did it, Illinois,” he added.
‘It’s going to be … more money’
The pandemic has meant shortened hours and decreased tips at Chicago Waffles in the city’s South Loop, waitress Erika Estrada told WBBM.
“We’re happy because we’re going to be, like, 100%,” she said of Friday’s reopening. “It’s going to be … more money. People can come and, like, enjoy our food; it’s really good, too.”
At southwest suburban Flossmoor Station restaurant and brewery, managers plan to wade back into full-capacity service carefully, with full seating on the patio but only 75% of seats filled indoors — until everyone is comfortable.
CNN’s Michelle Krupa, Kara Devlin and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.