Chicago entered Phase 5 of the recovery plan from the pandemic on June 11, representing a full reopening of the city.

Now, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is promoting a citywide giveaway of hundreds of gift cards, which are hidden at locations in all 77 Chicago neighborhoods.

Chicago is the largest major city in the U.S. to reopen.

“Due to the incredible progress we’ve made in our mission to stop the spread of COVID-19, I am thrilled to announce that we are able to safely transition into Phase 5 and become the first major city in the country to fully reopen,” Lightfoot said in a news release on June 11. “Our ongoing vaccination efforts, which prioritize equity and inclusion, have made a remarkable difference in our COVID-19 journey and have resulted in the lowest positivity rate since the beginning of the pandemic. This progress, as well as ongoing initiatives such as Open Chicago [the city’s plan to open businesses and expand outdoor dining], have allowed us to safely lift capacity limits and reconnect our residents back to the activities they love the most. With today’s announcement and even more residents continuing to do their part and get vaccinated, we are one step closer to being able to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror.” 

Lightfoot is partnering with Raise Marketplace, which is an e-commerce company based in Chicago, and World Business Chicago for the gift card giveaway.

Through July 4, hundreds of $250 gift cards will be hidden and can be used on Raise Marketplace at over 4,000 shops and restaurants in the city.

Phase 5 allows businesses to operate without capacity limits, mask mandates, social distancing or the prohibition of specific business activities.

Masks are still required in certain settings, including health care facilities, public transportation—including taxis and ride-hail services—correctional facilities, shelters and schools.

Non-vaccinated people are recommended to wear masks when indoors and when unable to socially distance.

The Chicago White Sox will host fans at 100-percent capacity beginning June 25; the team announced that tickets for “all games, all seats” went on sale on June 15.

The Cubs have hosted fans at 100-percent capacity since June 11.

The teams had been allowed to welcome fans at only 60-percent capacity, similar to other large public institutions.

The Bears reportedly plan to have Soldier Field at full capacity for the upcoming season.

The Illinois High School Association announced that all sports can now schedule contests with and against any other high school in the state, as well as out-of-state opponents.

There are no longer spectator limitations for both indoor and outdoor events.

Masks are no longer required for student-athletes, coaches and officials in low-and medium-risk outdoor sports. More information is available at ihsa.org/Resources/COVID-19.

For more information on Chicago’s reopening plan, visit chicago.gov/reopening.