Logan Square residents can now apply to host block parties slated for July 5 or later this year. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Permit Office began accepting applications on June 6. The Chicago Department of Public Health will continue to monitor COVID-19 health metrics and stresses that this policy can be reversed in the event of worsening health statistics.
Some aldermen, including Logan Square’s Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th ward) and the 44th Ward’s Tom Tunney, had urged the city to provide block party guidance in the months leading up to the announcement. Rosa had noted in a letter to city officials that “Our constituents are getting very upset — particularly now that they’ve heard Lollapalooza has gotten the green light and given that the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has updated guidance for vaccinated individuals and for outdoor gatherings.”
The new policy allowing block parties comes as COVID-19 cases and deaths have plummeted in Chicago and throughout Illinois, both of which fully reopened in phase 5 on June 11.
The city’s website has details on how to apply: “As always, the application process should begin with contacting the alderman’s office and block parties cannot extend for more than two blocks. After the application is reviewed and approved by the alderman’s office, aldermanic staff will enter the request into the online permitting system for approval and release by CDOT.”
In his June 1 newsletter, First Ward Alderman La Spata wrote, “block party planners must notify neighbors and recommend vaccinations for all who attend and provide evidence that a majority of residents on the affected block approve of the party.” La Spata’s office recommends that applicants gather signatures from residents expressing block party approval in order to placate any concerns some may have. A majority of residents on an affected block must approve of the party.
There are no capacity limits for parties, but anyone submitting an application must volunteer to serve as a “COVID Captain” to share and enforce safety protocols. Captain’s duties include signing a safety affirmation form. In the form, applications declare they will encourage all participants get vaccinated, require that nonvaccinated individuals and children ineligible for vaccines wear masks, and provide hand sanitizer at the event. This affirmation can be found at the city’s website here.
Vaccines are still available at large sites like Chicago State University (drive-through vaccinations no longer available there, but walk-up shots are) and the United Center (now offering only drive-through vaccinations). You can find vaccine events at smaller sites on this official calendar. The next Northwest Side popup event is on Monday, June 28, at the Belmont Blue Line CTA stop from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines will be available at this Avondale event.
If you would like to host a block party, fill out an application form here. Prepandemic policies, including time boundaries from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and a ban on hosting parties on streets with bus routes, remain in place.
Featured photo: A Longman & Eagle block party from years past. Photo: Meghan Keedy