CHICAGO — Restaurants and bars in Chicago and suburban Cook County are expected to resume indoor service over the weekend, with both regions on track to have coronavirus restrictions loosened by state officials.
Coronavirus-related metrics in Chicago and its Cook County suburbs show steady declines in the positivity rate and hospitalizations in both regions. If those metrics continue to drop or trends remain stable into Saturday, Chicago and suburban Cook County will enter Tier 1 restrictions, public health officials said.
A return to Tier 1 restrictions would allow restaurants and bars to resume indoor service with a 25-percent capacity limit.
Chicago bars without a food license can also resume indoor service if patrons can order food from a third party or delivery service, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office.
Parties are limited to four people and reservations must be made in advance, according to the state’s restrictions.
Lightfoot said in a statement Friday that the resumption of indoor service "will provide much-needed relief at a critical time" for restaurants and bars in the city.
"Our businesses have stepped up repeatedly to save lives throughout this crisis, and I am thrilled that we will soon be ready to take this step to reopen more businesses and get employees back to work," Lightfoot said.
The mayor urged residents to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus and ensure "we will be able to continue moving forward in our reopening plan."
A statewide indoor dining ban has been in place for the past two months, though nearly 400 businesses, mostly restaurants and bars, have been cited for coronavirus violations since the start of the pandemic, the Chicago Tribune reports.
All 11 coronavirus-management regions in Illinois have moved away from Tier 3 restrictions, with Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike saying “the entire state is headed down the right path.”
“During the summer, we were on this same path,” Ezike said. “We know that we must continue to take precautions and be smart about how we relax some of the mitigation measures, which are in place to protect our health and safety.”