CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday via Twitter that the Chicago Auto Show will return to the McCormick Place in July.
"The ChiAutoShow is back July 15-19 at McCormick Place," Lightfoot tweeted. "While this marks the first large convention to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we expect to welcome other conventions and tourist events this summer with safety precautions. See you there."
While the event will be smaller than usual and will only run for five days, it is expected to look similar to what is usually does.
According to Crain's Chicago Business, Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes and Dave Sloan, president of the show-sponsoring Chicago Automobile Association, said the show will also have new precautions designed to minimize any health risk.
This is the first time in Chicago Auto Show history, the show will be held indoors and outdoors. Sloan said the show will only use McCormick Place’s West Building and add new space outside, using a stretch of Indiana Avenue.
Sloan told Crain's the show will use Indiana as a test-drive locale for customers who want to try out a vehicle before purchasing it. Additionally, Ford is using two adjacent outside lots for displays of its new electric Mustang Mach-E SUV and a new Ford Bronco.
Officials said Chicago Auto Show attendance will be limited to 10,000 people at any one time. All tickets will have to be purchased online for set admission times, with attendance limited to four hours per person per day.
Tickets for the Chicago Auto Show will cost $13 for adults, $8 for people 62 and older, and $8 for children 7-12. Admission is free for children 6 and younger if they have a paying adult with them.
Under Lightfoot's recently announced Open Chicago plan, meetings, conferences, and conventions are allowed at large indoor venues with capacity limited of 25 percent or 250 people, whichever is less. Chicago is expected to join the state in moving to the Bridge Phase—the phase between Phase Four and fully reopening Phase Five—within the coming weeks, at which point capacity will increase to 60 percent or 1,000 people, whichever is fewer.
"Around this time last year, McCormick Place was turned an alternate care facility that significantly aided our city during the first wave of COVID-19—making today's announcement all the more special," said Mayor Lightfoot, in a statement. "In the same spirit of collaboration between government, healthcare, community, and corporate partners, we are now able to bring conventions back to our beloved convention center in a way that is safe and reflective of our progress in slowing and stopping the spread of this virus. I look forward to seeing the McCormick Place reopen its doors for the Chicago Auto Show this July and further enhance our city's ongoing Open Chicago initiative."
Governor Pritzker, at a news conference with Mayor Lightfoot on Tuesday, added "With strong public health protocols in place, the Chicago Auto Show will be the first large convention to take place in Illinois since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, setting the stage for the safe return of big events in the months to come. he lifesaving power of vaccinations and the hard work by the people of our city and state has led us here. In recent weeks, we have seen our statewide COVID case rates and hospitalizations flatten and begin to fall, demonstrating a surge far short of the one we saw over the fall and winter. To be clear, our fight against the virus isn’t over yet – but things are getting better.”
In addition to the Chicago Auto Show being held both indoor and outdoor and offering timed tickets, other COVID-19 mitigations in place include: all attendees must wear a face mask; sanitization stations throughout the event; contactless delivery for tickets; and, temperatures will be scanned and a medical questionnaire must be filled out before entry is allowed into the event.
Given the continuous downward trend of the COVID-19 numbers, the State of Illinois and City of Chicago have aligned on guidance for conventions returning later this summer. Chicago has made significant progress in reversing the rise in COVID-19 metrics that started in March and caused the city to pause the reopening plan. Since last week’s announcement, COVID-19 test positivity rate has continued to drop and is now under 5 percent.
Statewide, 55 percent of individuals 16 and over and 79 percent of individual 65 and over have been vaccinated, helping bring down increases in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. As these metrics continue to stabilize and decline, the state could soon move into the “Bridge Phase” of the Restore Illinois Reopening Plan. Following a 28-day period of continued stability or decline in key COVID-19 metrics, the state would then move into Phase 5, with all capacity limits lifted.
The State of Illinois is on track to be in Phase 5 in July.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.