Indoor dining is again banned in Chicago restaurants, starting Friday

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Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said Tuesday dining rooms at restaurants in the city of Chicago are expected to close again beginning Friday, due to increased COVID-19 measures.

Pritzker said the mitigation efforts were necessary due to the sustained increase in the COVID positivity rate, as well as the increase in hospitalizations for more than seven of the past 10 days. Earlier this week, restrictions were imposed in suburban Cook County following a worsening pandemic crisis there. The move followed closures in DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties earlier this month.

Pritzker, in a statement, said the region that includes Chicago is seeing more than twice as many COVID-related hospital admissions per day on average as it did a month ago, with a positivity rate that nearly rose. doubled since early October.

“So starting Friday, the city will also begin operating under our resurgence measures, with indoor restaurant and bar service closed and a restricted gathering limit of 25 people,” Pritzker said. “We can’t ignore what’s happening around us because without action it could look worse than anything we saw in the spring. So please no matter where you live, what your politics are, where you work or who you love, Illinois: Mask up! And we’ll get through this together.

For bars and restaurants, restrictions include

  • No interior service
  • All outdoor bar service closes at 11 p.m.
  • All bar patrons must be seated at tables outside
  • No ordering, seating or gathering at the bar (bar stools must be removed
  • Tables should be six feet apart
  • No standing or gathering indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or leaving
  • No dancing or standing inside
  • Reservations are required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at a table

Additionally, meetings, gatherings or events are limited to less than 25 people or 25% of room capacity. Party buses are banned, and gambling and casinos must close at 11 p.m., limit capacity to 25%, and follow restaurant and bar rules where applicable.

For restrictions to be eased again, the region’s average positivity rate must be 6.5% or less over a three-day period. But, after 14 days the rate exceeds 8%, even tighter restrictions could apply, according to the state’s Illinois Restoration Plan.

Organizing a campaign to call for a “more reasonable” approach to fighting the spread of the virus, such as curfews or reduced occupancy, the Illinois Restaurant Association argued that closing indoor service “would drive people more away in uncontrolled and unmonitored private gatherings where few safety precautions are in place.”

Restaurants, on the other hand, are “highly regulated, frequently inspected and held to the highest sanitary standards. Ensuring people’s safety is what restaurants do every day,” the association says to the campaign.

The restaurant association argues that closing indoor restaurants would cause at least 20% of restaurants to close permanently, resulting in the loss of 120,000 jobs.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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