The preliminary 7-day statewide test positivity rate sits at 3.4%. On Wednesday the state reported 1,795 virus cases and 24 deaths.
JOHN GARCIA: Twin Anchors has been a fixture in the old town neighborhood for nearly 90 years. Known for their ribs, in the pre-pandemic days, it was not unusual for customers to wait several hours for a table. But under COVID dining restrictions, they've been barely scraping by.
MARY KAY TUZI: We're down 40%. You tell me any business that would open up, a business model that would produce that.
JOHN GARCIA: Owner Mary Kay Tuzi had to lay off much of her staff when the pandemic started. But the city's announcement today allowing restaurants to increase capacity to 40%, or 50 people per room, she says she'll now be able to hire back a couple more.
MARY KAY TUZI: Literally by going from the 25% to the 40%, I've got 18 more shifts that I can provide for my staff.
ROGER ROMANELLI: This is a good step and an essential step to help restaurants survive.
JOHN GARCIA: Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she's increasing restaurant capacity because the city has made significant progress in lowering COVID-19 rates.
SAM TOIA: This is really good news for our neighborhood restaurants throughout our 77 communities.
JOHN GARCIA: But while the increased capacity will make a big difference for larger restaurants with more rooms, at the Wolcott Tap, a smaller neighborhood place, the owner says it will not likely allow many more customers.
LINSDAY SMITH: In order to keep all the tables six feet apart and everything like that, the 40% isn't going to make too much of a difference for us.
JOHN GARCIA: While most restaurateurs say every little bit helps, their business model is generally based on filling to 100% capacity. They say they hope the city is continuing to move in that direction quickly.