Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection announced a roadmap for Chicago to continue to cautiously ease regulations on businesses as COVID-19 metrics improve.
This strategy, which is also being adopted by the Cook County Department of Public Health, identifies a series of metrics that will determine when and how Chicago can carefully reopen businesses and expand indoor capacity so as not to reverse the progress made in the city's fight against COVID-19 in recent weeks and months.
Under the plan, indoor service at bars, restaurants and events can expand to the lesser of 25% capacity or 50 people per room or floor effective Thursday, Feb. 11. The easing of additional restrictions, including the expansion of indoor capacity to 40%, will be possible once the city reaches at least the "Moderate-Risk" level in the following metrics: COVID cases diagnosed per day, COVID test positivity, Emergency Department visits for COVID-like illness and total number of ICU beds occupied by COVID patients.
In recent weeks and months, Chicago has made significant progress in the ongoing fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The positivity rate as of Feb. 10 is 4.7%the lowest it has been since early October.
"As one of the most highly regulated industries in terms of health and safety, restaurants are ready and equipped to safely serve more diners indoors," said Illinois Restaurant Association President & CEO Sam Toia. "We have been advocating tirelessly on this point, and appreciate Mayor Lightfoot and President Preckwinkle's continued dialogue and action on this issue. It is estimated that 20% of restaurants will permanently close as a result of the pandemic. Today's announcement comes at a critical time, and is another step towards recovery. Restaurants need this increase, as well as federal relief, more than ever."
More information on Chicago's plan for cautious reopening will be available at chicago.gov/reopening .