For the first time in more than a year, Chicago and the state of Illinois reopened and have lifted nearly all its COVID-19 restrictions.
This means there are no more capacity limits on businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and other venues in the state.
"Thank you, Chicago, for wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and getting vaccinated," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a tweet.
Friday also marks the first time in a year that the Chicago Cubs will be playing a home game in front of a full crowd when they take on the St. Louis Cardinals. The White Sox is scheduled to open to 100% capacity on June 25.
"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," said Governor JB Pritzker in a news release. "I invite all Illinoisans to feel the hope and joy of this moment while also recognizing that this pandemic is still very present for the world at large - not to mention those here at home who have not been or cannot be vaccinated. As we take this next step forward, let's do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to [the] community, and to making each day together count. You did it, Illinois."
In celebration of the city reopening, Lightfoot announced that Chicago is partnering with World Business Chicago to away hundreds of gift cards through July 5. The $250 gift cards will be hidden across the city and redeemed at more than 4,000 shops and restaurants in the city.
Although capacity limits on city buses and trains were also lifted Friday, masks are still to be worn, the CTA said.
But not all COVID-19 health and safety measures will be going away. Masks will still need to be worn on public transportation, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and healthcare settings.