Illinois Governor JB Pritzker lifts statewide mask mandate, but Chicago officials still urge caution

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday lifted the state’s mask mandate for fully vaccinated people, but points out that restaurateurs have a choice to require customers to wear headgear while patronizing their companies. The next day, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Chicago would follow the state’s lead to match updated guidelines released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said wearing a mask is not necessary in most places where everyone is fully immunized except hospitals, schools, public transport and prisons.

City officials have always expressed apprehension about going inside without a mask until all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. At a press conference on Tuesday, Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady said 38% of Chicagoans were fully vaccinated. The city is asking restaurant and bar owners to prominently display signs communicating house rules to patrons – this gives the public the freedom to choose whether or not to enter, Arwady said.

The effectiveness of these signs was tested over the weekend, with restaurant and bar owners telling Eater Chicago of a few anxious customers who tried to convince them that the CDC’s advice meant they no longer needed masks.

The responsibility for checking vaccines will fall on business owners, checking vaccine cards in the same way that bouncers ask customers for a driver’s license. On Tuesday, Arwady described the relaxed restrictions as a means of flexibility, thus helping “any setting that does not have the capacity to verify immunization status and / or where not all employees, clients or participants are known to be. vaccinated ”.

“When you are in an environment where everyone is vaccinated – fully vaccinated, two weeks after the second dose – you don’t need to wear a mask because this vaccine will protect you better than the mask will, better than the mask. distance will do it, better than washing your hands, ”said Arwady.

In other news, the city officially announced the return of Lollapalooza at Grant Park. The music festival will take place from July 29 to August 1. Tickets will go on sale at noon on Wednesday. The festival regularly brings together food vendors from across the city to give music lovers a taste of Chicago and premium concert prizes. Some vendors told Eater Chicago that sales had been weak in recent years as younger customers chose to avoid food shopping. The festival will run at full capacity and attendees will need to prove they are fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19 within 24 hours of each day.

Here are updates on other openings:

  • Navy Pier will move into the next phase of its reopening on Thursday, allowing the public to enter. The tourist attraction is expected to return in full by Memorial Day weekend with a number of free summer arts and culture programs, according to a representative.
  • The Naperville Ribfest is again canceled for the second year in a row due to concerns about COVID-19, according to the Tribune. The annual festival was first scheduled for July in the Romeoville suburb.
  • The Do Divison Street Festival in West Town is canceled because organizers did not have enough time to plan properly, according to Block Club Chicago. The West Town Chamber of Commerce will replace it with Summer Stroll, designed to support local businesses.
  • Time Out Market Chicago, the huge food hall of Fulton Market, is tease a reopening next month, but has yet to detail a specific date or opening schedule. Operators are currently hiring for positions such as barbacks and bartenders.

In other news …

– The Palmer House Hilton and Sheraton Grand Chicago, among the largest hotels in downtown Chicago, are set to reopen in June after more than a year of pandemic devastation, according to the Tribune. With news of Lollapaloozas returning, the Sheraton Grand will reopen on June 7 and the famous Palmer House is accepting reservations from June 17.

– Steve Dolinsky, the former ABC 7 Chicago food personality known as the Hungry Hound, landed a new gig four months after leaving his TV gig: a director at Baum Realty Group, where he will play the matchmaker role with owners and restaurateurs looking for locations, according to at Fear. He would already have projects underway.

– Wienerschnitzel, based in California vaunted fast food brand as the world’s largest hot dog chain, is considering expansion in the Midwest and seeking franchisees in the region, according to to Businesswire. The chain now operates 330 restaurants in 10 states, but it remains to be seen whether a West Coast brand can live up to the high standards of Chicago’s many hot dog enthusiasts.

– Chef Jason Paskewitz (the Blanchard, Marchesa) will serve as executive chef at Pomeroy, the modern French bistro and brasserie of Ballyhoo Hospitality which will open in the coming months in the suburb of Winnetka, according to a representative. The date is also a kind of reunion: Paskewitz previously worked for Ballyhoo at Gemini at Lincoln Park.

– Chef Nick Jirasek (Ludlow Liquors, Young American) has been appointed Culinary Director of Ox-Bow Art School, an education and residency program in Saugatuck, Michigan. Jirasek tells Eater Chicago that he plans to fly back and forth between Chicago and Michigan. He sees untapped potential in space and says he has strong ties to Chicago. He will run the school’s “kitchen department” and be responsible for creating programs and learning opportunities, according to a Instagram post.

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