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CHICAGO (WLS) -- The state of Illinois and Chicago have entered Phase 5 and are fully reopen, with nearly all COVID restrictions lifted.

The reopening means crowds of all sizes are allowed in restaurants. It's great news for still-struggling businesses as venues can return to full capacity without social distancing.

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Illinois, Chicago fully reopen (1 of 4)

Full reopening is here in Illinois and Chicago, with nearly all COVID restrictions lifted.

The state is still battling COVID, but the latest case numbers are low enough to reopen safely.

RELATED: Illinois face mask rules: Where masks are still required in IL

Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement Thursday: "I invite all Illinoisans to feel the hope and joy of this moment while also recognizing that this pandemic is still very present for the world at large... As we take this next step forward, let's do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to community, and to making each day together count. You did it, Illinois."

There are still some places that will ease into the loosened restrictions, like the North Side Music Box Theater. They plan to make changes over the next few weeks.

"A lot of them bought the ticket and are expecting social distancing, and reduced capacity, and mask enforcement and so we feel it would not be appropriate to pull the rug out from under them," said Music Box General Manager Ryan Oestreich.
At Flossmoor Station restaurant and brewery, they've endured the ups and downs of the pandemic like thousands of other businesses. They plan to take a measured approach to full reopening. The outside patio will be at 100% capacity, but inside, the owner plans to keep things around 75% at least initially to make sure all customers are comfortable.

"We're excited, but we're cautiously excited," owner Carolyn Armstrong said. "And I don't want to just put a bunch of, cram a bunch of tables together. I want to kind of ease into it."

"It's been hard on everyone, and as a village we know that, so we've implemented steps to help our restaurants and to get them through this, so we're real proud of everyone," Flossmoor Village Trustee Jim Mitros said.

They are not the only ones. Keep in mind, everyone is still required to wear a mask on public transportation, in healthcare settings, schools, and more and they might be mandatory in other locations, too. Businesses can enforce their own rules on masks.

Cubs hosting 'Opening Day 2.0'
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Wrigley Field is about to become the most visible indicator that the city is fully reopened. The Cubs are calling it Opening Day 2.0.

Wrigley Field is about to become the most visible indicator that the city is fully reopened. The Cubs are calling it Opening Day 2.0.

They're excited to welcome fans back to the ballpark at full capacity for the first time since September 2019.

The Cubs are kicking off a three-game homestand against their division rival, the St. Louis Cardinals.
As part of the move to Phase 5, the club has amended its health and safety protocols. Starting Friday, outdoor and indoor capacity restrictions will be lifted, physical distancing will no longer be required in the ballpark and pod-style seating will be eliminated.

To support full capacity, gates will open two hours before the first pitch.

Cubs season ticket holders will return to their season ticket location and the Budweiser Bleachers will return to general admission.

Meanwhile, Wrigleyville bars, will also be at full capacity. For Sluggers, it's more than about the revenue.

"We will be back to what we've always known and what we know it's like, and back to normal business and normal numbers, normal amounts of fun," co-owner David Strauss said.

The ballpark's touchless entry process and bag restrictions implemented at the start of the regular season will remain in place as well as mobile tickets and cashless concessions and retail.

Die-hard Cubs fan Bill Murray is expected to sing the 7th inning stretch. First pitch is at 1:20 p.m.

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Tags: reopening illinois arts entertainment festival parade coronavirus coronavirus illinois coronavirus pandemic reopening illinois covid 19 pandemic covid 19 ’re excited illinois and chicago social distancing at full capacity still required full reopening will return season ticket the ballpark the ballpark they plan first pitch required

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Tokyo 2020 organizers to set 50% venue capacity limit for spectators

(CNN)Tokyo 2020 announced on Monday that it will allow spectators at the Olympics this year amid the pandemic, setting a 50% cap at venues, up to a maximum of 10,000 people.

Organizers did however warn that it could restrict the number of fans in the event of a state of emergency or amid any other restrictions to curb the rise of Covid-19 infections. Those attending the postponed Olympics will have to abide by a number of protocols aimed at stopping the spread of cases.
    "Masks should be worn in venues at all times; speaking in a loud voice or shouting will be prohibited; congestion should be avoided by means of appropriate announcements; and visitors should leave venues in a staggered manner," read a statement outlining the guidelines.
      "Spectators will be requested to travel directly to venues and return home directly, and to take all necessary precautions when moving between prefectures."Read MoreMore to follow.

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