This town is going to need bigger pods, igloos, and yurts. For the first time since March 2020, Chicago restaurants will be able to to sit more parties than six at the same table. City has relaxed COVID-19 rules so restaurants with outdoor seating can serve tables with a maximum of 10. Indoor dining will remain limited to six people per table, but city is relaxing rules for private events outside. Weddings and other social gatherings can now accommodate up to 100 people against the previous limit of 50 people.
A limit of four people per table remains in place for bars, whether patrons are seated indoors or outdoors. The city says it will assess COVID-19 conditions within a week. Key COVID-19 Indicators – emergency room visits, the positivity rate, the number of cases and the occupancy of beds in intensive care units – are on the rise. Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has urged the public to continue to be on guard.
Guests should continue to wear face coverings even when seated while waiting to eat. Restaurant staff and bartenders are also required to adhere to the mask’s mandate. The city’s updated regulations also stress that residents must always adhere to the six-foot rule.
The restrictions on indoor dining – a limit of 50 people per room or a 50% capacity – remain the same. Meanwhile, restaurant staff and others with no underlying conditions wait until March 29 when they are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Chicago. Workers in grocery and liquor stores, as well as food factories – including bakeries, distilleries and breweries – are already eligible.
Chicago reduced the maximum table size from 10 to six in July 2020. Although some restaurants have started dividing up large groups into nearby tables, health experts wanted to reduce mix-ups and the risk of spread. As temperatures warm, the increase in the number of people allowed to dine together is a positive sign even though the pandemic is ongoing.
- Chicago increases capacity for some outdoor activities [Crain’s]