Chicago bars, restaurants and some other businesses will be operating under more restrictive coronavirus guidelines starting Friday, the mayor announced Monday.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tightened rules on Chicago bars, restaurants, gyms and personal services amid a spike in coronavirus infections among young people, which she said last week accounted for about 30% of new COVID-19 cases.
Chicago had entered Phase 4 of its five-phase reopening plan on June 26, but recent infection trends concerned city health officials, leading to the tightening of rules.
As of Sunday, the city’s COVID dashboard reported 2,727 coronavirus deaths in the city and 56,947 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.
Effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report:
- Bars, taverns, breweries and other establishments without a retail food license that serve alcohol for on-site consumption will be prohibited from serving their customers indoors.
- Restaurants will be permitted to continue to serve alcohol if they strictly enforce the city’s regulations.
- The maximum party size and table occupancy at restaurants, bars, taverns and breweries will be reduced from 10 people to six.
The tightened restrictions pose challenges for restaurants and bars, said Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, in a statement.
“Chicago’s hospitality industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Toia said. “Sliding backward in our phasing is terrible news for bars that have started to reopen indoors and are trying to stay afloat.”
Toia said that while bars and restaurants could still operate, “it is more critical than ever that all operators, their employees and guests adhere to the guidelines established by leading health experts.”
Chicago’s tightened restrictions also will reduce indoor fitness classes from 50 under state guidelines to a limit of 10 people, rescind permission for facials, shaves and other personal services requiring the removal of face coverings, and ask residential property managers to limit guest entry to five-per-unit to avoid indoor gatherings and parties.
For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.
Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless