By Jermont Terry

CHICAGO (CBS) — The clock is ticking for Chicago bars  and restaurants.

New rules kick in at midnight that could force some businesses to close their doors. CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reports from Old Town where neighborhood bars are trying to figure out ways to stay open.

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Since it’s comes down to whether you sell food, a few pubs are considering getting temporary food licenses in the hopes of not losing completely out.

Along North Avenue, you’ll find plenty of people dining out inside restaurants. Some businesses check customers’ temperature in addition to requiring masks.

But even if you have a mask, you can’t enter Old Town Ale House.

Manager Tim Polk believes  the rollback restrictions coming from the city, requiring businesses who don’t sell food to close again is unfair.

“We’re put on hold until further notice,” Polk said.

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The bar finds itself shutdown, once again.

“We could have opened up on June 26. We didn’t actually open up until the 15th of July,” said Polk. “Another place like this can have people sitting and drinking just because they have food. Food would only complicate things. I don’t see why we’re being singled out.”

The Old Town bar has served some big Chicago politicians and celebrities since opening in 1958. It has kept the same feel, but recently the owners did some renovations spending big bucks to keep up with COVID-19 requirements.

“We put in some new windows double-hung windows there so nice ventilation and exhaust fans,” Polk said. “We just upgraded a lot of stuff.”

Now with the latest restrictions, The Old Town Ale House hopes it can survive. Several small bars are getting hit the hardest. The National Restaurant Association predicts 75% of operators won’t survive the next six months. But Polk is optimistic.

“I’m concerned it might be a roller coaster kind of thing,” Polk said. “Who knows about the closings.”

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