CHICAGO — A rise in COVID-19 cases has triggered tighter restrictions to go into effect Wednesday in suburban Cook County.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, suburban Cook County reported seven days with an increase in hospitalizations with coronavirus-like symptoms between October 13-23, as well as seven days with an increase in the 7-day average of COVID-19 test positivity rates.
Starting Wednesday, indoor service at bars and restaurants will no longer be allowed in suburban Cook County — along with the following:
- Limits on gatherings to 25 people or 25 percent of room capacity, whichever is less
- No indoor service at bars and restaurants, with outdoor service ending at 11 p.m.
- Reservations are required at bars and restaurants, and no shared tables allowed
- No party buses allowed, and all gaming and casinos must also close at 11 p.m.
In a video message to the Orland Park community, Mayor Keith Pekau told residents he won’t enforce the indoor dining closures.
The mayor says the rules are too harsh for business owners, and believes the data shows that restaurants are not part of the reason why the area is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
“The governor has yet to show any data that supports shutting down restaurants or targeting the businesses that he has. As I have said many times, adults can make their own informed decisions and businesses must operate in a way that makes their customers comfortable and safe. I will continue to support the decisions of our business owners,” Pekau said.
The mayor plans to put forth a program at the next board meeting that would encourage people to visit and dine in at restaurants.