RUSSELLVILLE, Ill.

— Chicago grocery stores have been trying to make a big statement with a new dress-code policy, which requires shoppers to wear skirts, dresses or shorts on some store property.

The policy, announced in February, sparked controversy and protests, but the city has now made some changes.

The rules were supposed to go into effect Jan. 1, but have been delayed until Jan. 9 because of the flu pandemic, according to a memo from Mayor Rahm Emanuel to his council.

They also were supposed the start of a year-long holiday season, but were extended for an additional two weeks this year.

“This is not a time for celebration, but a time to reflect and to work through our differences,” Emanuel said in the memo, which was obtained by ABC News.

In his memo, Emanuel outlined a plan for the changes.

Among other things, the policy would require shoppers to purchase merchandise at a designated store in the mall that is open during the shopping season, and not to enter or leave a store on a mall property without first purchasing merchandise there.

Calls for the dress code to be changed started coming in from the public, as well as from retailers.

Several businesses and politicians have called on the city to change the dress codes.

Some retailers, including Whole Foods, have also said they support the policy change.

Critics have said the dress-codes are being forced on shoppers who are not prepared for the holiday season.