New COVID-19 restrictions for bars, restaurants take effect in Chicago


CHICAGO — As COVID-19 cases surge, new restrictions began Friday for bars and restaurants in Chicago.

According to data reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health Tuesday, Chicago posted increases in its 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate and hospital admissions for “COVID-19 like” illness over at least seven of the past 10 days, meeting the state’s criteria for additional mitigation measures to be put in place.

In a statement, Governor JB Pritzker said Chicago is now averaging more than twice as many COVID-related hospital admissions per day as it was a month ago while the positivity rate has almost doubled since the beginning of October.

“We can’t ignore what is happening around us – because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring,” Pritzker said.

Starting Friday Chicago will be under “Tier 1” of coronavirus mitigation measures outlined in the Restore Illinois plan, which includes limits on group sizes to 25 people or 25% of room capacity (whichever is less), and indoor service at bars or restaurants will no longer be allowed. Outdoor bar and restaurant service must end at 11 p.m.

Service is allowed in areas with retractable roofs and tables within 8-feet of walls that can be opened at least 50%.

The IDPH said the “Tier 1” restrictions will remain in effect in Chicago until:

  • The positivity rate measured over a three-day period averages 6.5% or less
  • Hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness decline over a three-day period
  • Availability of ICU and other hospital beds averages 20% or more over a week

State health officials announced added restrictions for suburban Cook County after it hit the same number of days with increases in COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations Monday.

According to the Illinois Restaurant Association, 5,000 restaurants have already gone out of business since the pandemic began.

Restaurant owners like Jodi Fyfe are struggling to stay afloat.

We are all putting our life vests on to get through,” Fyfe said. “We live in Chicago, we don’t have the best weather, we are already in a sinking ship.”


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