Chicago restaurants navigate easing COVID-19 restrictions during bridge phase – CBS Chicago

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Friday night, it was as if Chicago hadn’t seen in over a year. The city is now in the “bridge phase” of reopening after COVID-19 restrictions, which means larger crowds everywhere.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State and City of Chicago have announced changes restaurants can make to who and how they host. Conservators CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra spoke to are happy with the changes but say it’s a lot to absorb, so don’t expect changes everywhere just yet.

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“It was a big announcement, yeah,” said Wesley Conger, Managing Director of Swift & Sons.

She was able to seat her largest group of diners for over a year on Friday night. The start of the bridge phase in State and City means higher capacities.

“The biggest change I would say right now that we have already made is that we are taking 10 tops indoors, whereas so far there were only six people at a table,” Conger said. .

But the CDC’s newly relaxed stance on masking hasn’t changed the rules inside the restaurant.

“We’re really still in a conversation right now about how we want this to turn out for us,” Conger said.

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The masks also stay across the street at Marvin’s Food and Fuel.

“I think at this point the waiters, the staff, those who look after our guests are going to stay with masks and make sure everyone is comfortable,” said owner James Geier.

Geier has another rule to calculate. In Chicago restaurants, fully vaccinated people should not count for capacity, but does that mean asking for CDC vaccination cards? Theirs is one of the many restaurants that still include it.

“I think we’re going to start asking them if they have a problem one way or another and getting them to comment on it,” Geier said.

It continues to be a unique balance of wanting to protect employees while serving customers the best they can. The state may be opening up further, but this difficult challenge remains.

“The situation demanded that we all get creative and more thoughtful about these kinds of issues and make sure people are comfortable,” Geier said.

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On the issue of masks, the Chicago Office of Business and Consumer Protection said that with the CDC’s announcement, the city and state were reviewing their regulations. They plan to release new guidelines in the coming days that are more in line with the CDC. However, until then, that means the mask requirements are still in place.

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