Limited indoor dining returns to Chicago bars, restaurants


CHICAGO (WGN) — Indoor dining will be allowed to resume in Chicago and suburban Cook County with new rules that bars and restaurants must follow.

Many restaurants and bars feared that if indoor dining did not resume, that they would not survive. If the metrics remain stable Saturday, dining rooms will be allowed to reopen for the first time since fall. Chicago and suburban Cook County were on track to move from Tier 2 to Tier 1 mitigations.

Service is resuming to the city earlier than originally planned after three straight days of a positivity rate below 8%.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted on Saturday that “due to recent progress in the fight against COVID-19,” the city was now operating under the state’s Tier 1 mitigations.

The following restrictions are in place:

  • Restaurants and bars that serve food can operate at 25% capacity. 
  • Tables must be six feet apart.
  • Four people per table indoors and six people per table outside.
  • Bars and restaurants must close by 11 p.m. 
  • Indoor dining is limited to two hours.
  • Masks must be worn except while eating or drinking.

Gov. JB Pritzker banned indoor service in the fall when COVID-19 cases were climbing.

For many owners, take out and delivery were not enough to sustain their businesses.

Last week, Lightfoot started pushing for reopening bars and restaurants arguing that they have gone above and beyond during the pandemic. Restaurant owners have urged Pritzker to act to help save the industry. 

How long this will last will depend on many variables, but one of which is how well restaurant and bar owners can follow the new restrictions.

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