Chicago Holds Back as Pritzker Plans to Allow Outdoor Dining by the End of the Month

bebarnes | PixabayMost of Illinois will officially allow activities such as outdoor dining, salons and gatherings of 10 or less people to resume today, but Chicago isn’t moving as fast.

Illinois residents are expected to be able to dine outdoors starting May 29, as the state has reached thresholds to move on to phase three of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan, but Chicagoans won’t have the same privilege, officials said. 

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city won’t allow restaurants to reopen at the end of May, a decision Pritzker said was entirely her choice in a press conference May 21. 

“The decision by a municipality like Chicago to not have outdoor seating is completely up to them,” Pritzker said. 

Pritzker said he intends to allow restaurants to serve customers outdoors, as long as nothing “catastrophic” happens concerning COVID-19 in the next eight days. The current stay at home order is set to expire May 29.

Illinois’ step toward reopening comes as the state continues to produce record numbers of COVID-19 tests, with 29,307 new tests reported in the last 24 hours, according to Illinois Department of Public Health director Ngozi Ezike. 

Ezike also reported 2,268 new cases of the virus and 87 additional deaths in the past day. 

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