(The Center Square) – The city of Chicago is looking to open things up fully by July 4.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state as a whole could be on the same trajectory with relaxing COVID-19 restrictions.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined with other city officials Tuesday to announce the Chicago Auto Show will be back at McCormick Place July 15 through 19. Attendees will have to register in advance and fill out a health survey, but vaccines won’t be required. Lightfoot said the goal is to have no capacity limits in the city by July 4. As for masks, she said that’s “standard fare.”
“I think that’s going to be something that we see here in the U.S. for probably at least the next year, if not further beyond that,” Lightfoot said. “But our goal is to get the economy back on track.”
Pritzker said the state as a whole could be on the same trajectory as the city’s July 4 target, but he’s cautious.
“I want to make sure that I emphasize something that the mayor said, which is we can’t predict the future and this virus has proven to be very challenging,” the governor said. “Of course, we all experienced November and December and January here in Illinois, so we always are on guard. We’re watching the numbers like a hawk but I’m optimistic. I think things are going in the right direction.”
The governor’s initial reopening plan called for the state to fully reopen when a vaccine was widely available. Although walk-up appointments are available in locations throughout the state, the governor’s modified plan now requires 50% of the population to be fully vaccinated.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said that mixed messaging is frustrating.
“Now more than ever during this pandemic, we should know more about using the science and the data that we’ve accumulated on a disease that no one knew existed a year-and-a-half ago,” Davis said.
Davis said one area the governor needs to be more adamant on is getting all schools reopened for in-person education.
While around 73,000 of the state’s 1.9 million students are in fully remote learning, nearly 1.5 million students attend schools in a blended model with some remote and some in-person learning.
Davis encouraged everyone to get the vaccine.
“Stop giving J.B. Pritzker and the politicians excuses to keep the economy shut down and not listen to the science and not listen to the data,” Davis said. “Come on governor. Open it up.”