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Bridge Phase Guidelines Offer Higher Occupancy Caps and a New Vaccine Exemption.

May 24, 2021


The State of Illinois and City of Chicago are currently in the Bridge Phase, which uses most of the same operational guidelines as Phase 4 but has higher occupancy caps and a new Vaccine Exemption.

The State is anticipated entering Phase 5 (essentially no restrictions) on June 11. The Mayor has left open the possibility that the City will stay in the Bridge Phase past June 11, potentially until around July 4. That date is still to be determined based on COVID case data and other factors.

The office occupancy cap for the City and State is 60%. The State and City started a Vaccine Exemption last week, under which anyone who is fully vaccinated does not count toward any capacity restrictions across all industries—including that they don’t count against the 60% cap for office spaces.

Operating guidelines for Office Buildings
There are two sets of operating guidelines for office buildings:

State of Illinois Operating Guidelines 

City of Chicago Operating Guidelines

As a result of our advocacy, the State has updated its Phase IV elevator rules for office buildings—occupancy should be limited to the lesser of 50% of elevator capacity or 6 people (see page 4 of the State guidelines above). The City’s elevator guideline is simply to “optimize elevator occupancy,” so the State’s metric is the benchmark to observe. Note that “elevator capacity” refers to the official capacity (based on weight), so for most buildings, the functional limit will be 6 people.

Other Requirements
Most of the operating guidelines you are familiar with are still currently in place. The State guidelines still say that landlords should display signage and provide hand sanitizer at entrances, elevators, and common areas (see page 4). The guidance to screen suppliers or visitors at the dock before entering a building is also still in place (see page 6)—you can find the template for the wellness screening questions here.

Fitness Centers and Gyms
Fitness centers and gyms within office buildings still have to follow the capacity restrictions and guidelines for fitness businesses. The occupancy cap for those was also increased to 60 percent in the Bridge Phase (with group classes of 50 or fewer indoors), but the Phase 4 guidelines still include screening and other guidelines.