Chicago to allow expanded indoor dining due to continued progress in COVID-19 fight

Coronavirus

The City of Chicago has released the following:

Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot is announcing the expansion of indoor dining in Chicago, effective immediately, due to significant progress in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. This expansion, which is based on the roadmap that the City announced last week to guide the responsible easing of restrictions, will allow bars, restaurants and events to offer indoor service at the lesser of 40% capacity or 50 people effective today, February 16th. This cautious expansion of indoor service is possible due to Chicago recording fewer than 400 new COVID-19 cases per day, based on the seven-day rolling average, for each of the last three days. Due to this improvement, all four metrics that Chicago is using to determine when and how to cautiously reopen have now moved into the “Moderate-Risk” level for at least three days, allowing for this expansion of indoor dining. This is a clear sign of Chicago’s significant progress in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“In recent days, we have made incredible progress in the ongoing effort to save lives and defeat this deadly virus,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “I am thrilled that we have made enough headway to cautiously ease more regulations, but I once again want to remind all our businesses and residents that we are not out of the woods yet. Only by committing to what we know works will we be able to continue moving forward carefully and responsibly.” 

Under the roadmap announced last week, the following metrics are being used to determine the process for continuing to ease COVID-19 regulations: 

  • COVID cases diagnosed per day: currently averaging 344, in the “Moderate-Risk” level 
  • COVID test positivity: currently averaging 3.6%, in the “Low-Risk” level 
  • Emergency Departments visits for COVID-like illness: currently averaging 62 per day, in the “Moderate-Risk” level 
  • ICU beds occupied by COVID patients: currently averaging 117, in the “Moderate-Risk” level 

While indoor dining capacity can expand to the lesser of 40% or 50 people today, other regulations will remain in place to ensure that the rush to reopen does not endanger the progress made in recent weeks and months. For bars, restaurants and events, this means that table size remains limited to no more than six people, alcohol service must end at 11:00 pm, establishments must close for on-site service by midnight and food must be available at all times in order to offer indoor service. The easing of additional regulations, including the expansion to 50% capacity, will be possible if Chicago maintains at least the “Moderate-Risk” level in all four categories for at least two weeks. You can track the City’s progress on the reopening metrics at chi.gov/coviddash, and updated COVID-19 regulations can be found at chicago.gov/reopening.  

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