Chicago officials say ‘no plans’ for COVID-related closures

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady urged people to get vaccinated

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Chicago’s top doctor said Sunday that there are no current plans for again imposing pandemic-related restrictions, despite a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady urged people to get vaccinated and to wear masks indoors, no matter their vaccination status. 

“We have no goal or current plans to close down Chicago again,” she said during a rare Sunday news conference. “But we need people please once again to step up.”

Chicago lifted most pandemic-related restrictions in June amid dropping infections. But things have changed. Chicago’s average number of daily cases is 208, which is up 58% from last week when it was 131, according to the health department. 

Arwady and Mayor Lori Lightfoot also defended holding Lollapalooza, a decision that’s drawn criticism for packing hundreds of thousands of people in a lakefront park. Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who’d planned to attend, skipped the event “out of an abundance of caution, with cases on a sharply increasing trajectory,” his spokeswoman told WMAQ-TV.

Lightfoot said 90% of attendees were vaccinated. She praised Lollapalooza’s organizers for doing “an incredible job” working with health officials on safety protocols. The festival ends Sunday.

“I feel very good about what we’ve done,” Lightfoot said. “Obviously we’ll know a little more in a week to 10 days.”

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