Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is planning to place a 10:00 p.m. curfew on city bars and restaurants as part of a new effort to curb a spike in coronavirus cases, the Tribune has learned.
In addition, the city will again prohibit indoor service at traditional taverns and brewery taprooms without food licenses, a source briefed on the plan said.
Lightfoot is expected to make the announcement Thursday afternoon.
The new restrictions follow a news conference earlier this week where Lightfoot sounded an alarm about the dramatic increase in the number of coronavirus cases since the start of October and threatened the stricter guidelines on businesses.
Chicago’s seven-day average of new cases has hit 645, up dramatically from where the city was at the start of the month and even from the weekend. On Saturday, for instance, Chicago’s seven-day rolling average was 508 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases per day.
Late last month, Lightfoot cited a decrease in COVID-19 cases as she allowed bars that don’t serve food to reopen for indoor drinking. She also eased rules on restaurants, gyms and other retailers, allowing them to increase capacity.
The changes were Lightfoot’s latest attempt to ease the financial burden on Chicago businesses by lifting frequently criticized restrictions.
But they also came as the number of new COVID-19 cases per day was hovering around 300, well above the 200-case threshold the mayor set months ago as a goal before moderating restrictions.
Cases have only increased since then, though Lightfoot has said those moves weren’t to blame.
The mayor on Monday pointed to the cold weather as one cause of the sharp increase in cases, saying it is leading to more indoor gatherings. She said residents need to limit the number of people they come into contact with. She said she understands what she called residents' “fatigue factor” but said it is important for people to keep their guard up.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
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