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Governor Pritzker announced indoor dining to resume in Chicago and suburban Cook County on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. This means bars and restaurants will provide service on the inside; some restrictions will apply.
Since late October, Chicago and suburban Cook County are officially reopening their doors due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Chicago’s restaurant industry is looking forward to meeting and greeting customers while ensuring safety and social distancing. Restaurants will operate within proper guidelines at 25 percent capacity or 25 people per space, whichever is less. Bars and restaurants reopening to inside service will have additional restrictions also.
Indoor service will be limited to a maximum of two hours; also, bars and restaurants must close by 11 p.m. Mask must be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking. Tables must be six feet apart, no more than four to a table indoors and six outdoors.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago wrote a statement on Saturday, “We have long pushed for the careful resumption of limited indoor dining, and I am thrilled that we have made enough progress in the fight against COVID-19 to reopen our businesses and bring workers back.”
Paul Aub-Taleb, a managing partner at a new Pilsen restaurant on 18th street, stated only five tables were filled due to the 25 percent capacity rule; Aub-Taleb also stated that is better than the day before. Restaurant owners are aware reopening will take time, ensuring safety as a priority to welcome back customers.
Many restaurants have stated once reopening was announced, they were booked. This brings back hope and leaves the industry optimistic. Restaurant owner Di Vuolo stated being face-to-face and talking to his customers is an important part of the business that he misses the most.
Chicago’s reopening to Tier 1 will be a slow but necessary adjustment for the economy. Tier 1 also allows gyms and fitness centers to reopen at 50 percent capacity limits with other public health restrictions in place.
The qualifications for eased restrictions under Chicago’s Governor Pritzker’s plan must meet three benchmarks, test positivity rate below 8 percent for three consecutive days, available intensive care unit, and medical bed capacity greater than or equal to 20 percent for three consecutive days with no sustained increased number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
Written by Teleza Rodgers
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Chicago Tribune: Indoor dining officially allowed back in Chicago, Cook County under COVID-19 restrictions, offering some restaurants ‘a breath of fresh air’ By ALICE YIN
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