Chicago Nears More Relaxed Phase 4, Health Commissioner Says

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago's health commissioner on Friday said the city is poised to move into a freer Phase 4 by July 1, provided key health metrics can be kept down. 

Dr. Allison Arwady said infection rates and hospitalizations will determine if restrictions are eased further at the end of June. Numbers currently suggest Chicago is stable and that the spread of COVID-19 has been bent downward.

She described Phase 4, if the city can do it, like this: "It would be looking at things like opening up capacity further. So, there are some settings where maybe there's a 25 percent capacity open, we'd be looking a 50 percent. Certainly there's the indoor dining piece that everbody is anxious to have in place by Phase 4, if not even earlier, in a safe way."

Also, she said, museums may be able to be opened with restrictions.

One wild card: The city doesn't yet know if recent street demonstrations and protests have created a setback with coronavirus transmissions. Although many protesters have worn masks, they have often been in close proximity to each other. Arwady said it's possible that lifting some restrictions during the current Phase 3 may also have created more cases.

Arwady has said to date the city has reported more than 2,300 deaths related to COVID-19 and more than 49,000 confirmed "positive" cases of coronavirus. 

She said Chicago's fortunes are still tied to people being smart about social-distancing and wearing masks and face coverings in public.