CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago will join the rest of Illinois in the next reopening phase starting Friday, allowing museums, gyms and zoos to open for business with restrictions in place.

Public health officials said Monday that COVID-19 metrics required for reopening under state and city plans have been met, with a continuing decline in new infections. Previously, Chicago's reopening after a stay-at-home order imposed during the pandemic was behind Illinois with stricter standards than the state.

“Although we have been making good progress," said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the city's Department of Public Health, "we have only just moved out of the high risk level for COVID-19.”

Chicago's rules expected to take effect Friday differ slightly from the state's, but there's overlap.

Restaurants and bars across Illinois will be able to offer indoor seating at 25% capacity, with similar occupancy restrictions for other businesses. Gyms will be required to space out machines, among other safety measures. Indoor gatherings will be limited to 50 people.

In Chicago, outdoor gatherings will be capped at 100 people, up from 50 people. Illinois said outdoor recreational activities will be capped at 50, with some exceptions.

Some of Chicago's most popular attractions were still working out the details.

Lincoln Park Zoo officials said they would require online reservations to prevent people from being turned away at the gate. Art Institute of Chicago officials said they wouldn't require reservations, but strongly recommended them.

Chicago reopened its lakefront trail Monday for walking, running and cycling. Beaches along Lake Michigan beaches remained closed as did city park playgrounds.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 462 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with 26 additional deaths. Overall, there have been 137,224 cases and 6,671 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older people and the infirm, it can cause severe symptoms and lead to death.


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