Lightfoot: Don’t scapegoat Chicago restaurants for second wave of COVID-19

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that Chicago is in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic, the one Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Americans about, and that Chicagoans don’t have the luxury of “COVID-19 fatigue. “when fighting the novel coronavirus. Lightfoot took no action Monday, but said a return to the city’s Phase Three restrictions — which could include restricting indoor dining — was a possibility.

The spike has heightened concerns as temperatures hover around freezing, forcing Chicagoans to spend more time indoors.

“Chicago’s cases are now rising sharply with a rate of increase similar to what we saw in the first wave,” Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the city’s health department, said at a conference. press Monday morning from City Hall.

Arwady said she expects the city to approach a dangerous zone in terms of case numbers in a few days. The raw number of COVID-19 cases isn’t what’s alarming — it’s how fast this virus is spreading, Arwady said. Chicago sits at a seven-day rolling average of 508 daily cases and that number is expected to rise to 600 later this week, Arwady said. The city is also experiencing a positivity rate of 5.4% and Arwady said officials would consider drastic action if the latter figure approaches 8%.

Health experts don’t like to eat indoors, ranking the activity as one of the riskiest when it comes to contracting COVID-19. The city recently increased indoor dining capacity by 25-40%. When asked if there was a link to the outbreak and indoor dining in restaurants, Lightfoot said “that’s not what we’re seeing in the data at all.” Lightfoot and Arwady said indoor dining isn’t fueling the surge because COVID-19 is showing growth in a variety of sectors, hitting a variety of neighborhoods, infecting all races and age groups. . This makes it difficult to create specific security guidelines that target the source of the spread, Lightfoot said.

“The truth is that it happens in all walks of life, in all ages and genders, from north, south and west,” the mayor said.

If indoor dining was the main culprit, Lightfoot said she would not hesitate to reinstate stricter regulations. For the most part, Lightfoot said operators were following the necessary safety guidelines to continue to fight the virus. Instead, the city worries about card games and dinner parties. Restaurants are subject to heavy government regulations, but private residences are not. Lightfoot also reminded Chicagoans how the virus thrives indoors. The mayor said she was also concerned about reports of pub crawls potentially spreading COVID-19.

“This is the worst possible time to let your guard down,” Lightfoot said.

Arwady said the city has been stricter with its restaurant rules compared to the rest of Illinois and that they have had a “really good and solid interaction” with restaurant industry leaders who “have overall did a really good job” with the following mask wearing, table spacing, and keeping parties to no more than six people per table. Arwady and Lightfoot sympathized with business owners and cited the balance between the economic impact of restricting restaurants and the need to keep the city safe.

“It will be a tragedy for many of them,” Lightfoot said of the effects of COVID-19 on small businesses. “But I have to do what is right to protect us from this virus.”

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