City of Chicago Issues Phase III Guidelines to Cautiously Reopen


On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, with the assistance of the Chicago Department of Public Health and others, issued industry-specific guidelines for safely operating businesses within "Phase III: Cautiously Reopen." These guidelines are part of the city’s "Be Safe Chicago" framework that will be used to guide Chicago’s reopening process amid COVID-19.

Within Phase III, in addition to businesses which have previously been allowed to remain open, the following industries will be able to reopen with specific safety guidelines:

  • Childcare centers and family childcare
  • Non-lakefront parks (no contact sports)
  • Libraries and other city services
  • Office-based jobs, professional services, and real estate services
  • Hotels / lodging
  • Outdoor attractions (e.g., boating – not including the Playpen, non-Lakefront golf courses)
  • Non-essential retail
  • Personal services (e.g., hair/nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors)
  • Restaurants and coffee shops (outdoor dining only)
  • Manufacturing, construction, and warehousing
  • Hospitals, dentists, community mental health centers, and Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • Public transit, regional transit, taxis and rideshare
  • Gyms (outdoor and 1:1 personal training only)

The guidance can be found here.  

The City also issued specific guidance for the following industries:

  • Education & Childcare
  • Office & Real Estate
  • Accommodation & Tourism
  • Food Service
  • Retail and Services
  • Business to Business
  • Healthcare
  • Parks & Outdoor Attractions

For example, there is specific guidance for the reopening of commercial offices in downtown Chicago, which includes workspaces separated by impermeable barriers to enhance safety, visual signage posted throughout the facility regarding hygiene, social distancing, PPE, and the use of face coverings at all times in common areas, or where 6 foot distancing is not possible.  It also includes guidance regarding closing of common areas and reconfiguring workspaces to maintain appropriate distancing. Significantly, offices are limited to no more than 25% capacity for indoor spaces. 

See the complete guidance here.  

In addition, the guidelines for retail establishments include maintaining physical distancing with customers while in store - including the use of 6 foot indicators placed throughout the store to ensure physical distancing, the use of impermeable barriers to maintain separation between employees and shoppers, frequent disinfecting by employees and readily available sanitization products for use by customers, the use of a contactless payment process if possible, and the wearing of facial coverings at all times.  In addition, retail establishments are limited to no more than 50% capacity for essential retail and 25% capacity for non-essential retail.   

See the complete guidance here.  

Moreover, the City is encouraging businesses to complete a self-certification survey to indicate their ability to comply with the City’s standards prior to re-opening, which is posted here

The City of Chicago's Phase III Guidelines are applicable to all industries operating within the city limits, and at times, more strict that the Phase 3 Business Toolkit issued by the State of Illinois which applies to all industries in Illinois, including the City of Chicago, and which we wrote about in our article entitled: Illinois Publishes Business Toolkit For Phase 3 Re-Opening. Where the City of Chicago's guidelines are more restrictive, all industries operating within Chicago must follow those restrictions.

Related Professionals

Related Practices & Industries


Subscribe to receive firm announcements, news, alerts and event invitations.


Jump to Page

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Disclaimer.