What Does the Bridge Phase Mean for Local Businesses?

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With the state set to move into the Bridge Phase of the Restore Illinois plan on Friday, here’s what changes in terms of COVID-19 mitigations.

Gyms, Offices, Retail

For gyms, offices, and retail, it means a small increase in capacity limits, from 50% to 60%.


For restaurants, the Bridge Phase means standing area capacity goes from 25% to 30% indoors, and up to 50% capacity outdoors.

“What is changing now, as the weather gets nice, that opens up a lot of capacity for them,” said Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. “So even though the 25-30% change in the Bridge Phase doesn’t really have a huge impact, the fact that they can start to dine outside again will have a significant impact on their operation, so that’s good.”

Many downtown restaurants have taken advantage of outdoor dining by partnering with the city to create “outdoor dining cafés.”

“The city, using some COVID relief funding has been able to help us create more continuity in design and implementing,” said DineNaperville and Naperville Development Partnership President Christine Jeffries. “So you’ll see a lot more outdoor dining.”

Museums and Convention Centers

Places like museums and convention centers have more dramatic changes. Museums go from 25% to 60% capacity, and conventions and conferences are allowed up to 1,000 people or 60% capacity – whichever is less.

“Where it affects organizations more is museums and those types of institutions that really went from very little or no operational capacity to something,” said Chirico.

Phase 5 Coming This Summer

And while some of those changes don’t’ sound like much, Jeffries said businesses are still excited about the prospect of looser mitigations for the summer.

“Now I think with the summer months coming, the vaccinations already hitting the street, I think our businesses are ready to reopen,” she said.

The state could move to Phase 5, where there are no capacity limits for any business, as early as June 11. Illinois has already reached the vaccination numbers to move forward, but must maintain or lower COVID tracking metrics over a 28-day period.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.


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