CHICAGO (CBS) — With Gov. JB Pritzker ordering Chicago bars and restaurants to halt indoor service starting Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is giving them an extra hour of outdoor operations.
Last week, Lightfoot announced a 10 p.m. curfew for all non-essential businesses in Chicago, including restaurants and bars. With the governor now imposing a ban on indoor dining and bar service starting Friday, the mayor extended the non-essential business curfew until 11 p.m., to allow an extra hour of outdoor dining.
Lightfoot’s office said the city also will modify its liquor curfew, to allow on-site or to-go alcohol sales at bars and restaurants until 11 p.m. The sale of alcohol at grocery stores, liquor stores, and other businesses with packaged goods licenses still face a 9 p.m. cutoff for liquor sales.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago’s businesses have stepped up and shown their dedication to the health of their community,” Chicago Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno said in a statement. “Unfortunately we must ask you once more to do what’s necessary to save lives, but we will continue doing everything we can to support our business community. The more Chicagoans that take this deadly pandemic seriously, the quicker we can get our bars and restaurants open again.”
The mayor’s office said the changes announced Thursday will align with the tougher COVID-19 restrictions announced by the governor. The new mitigations include a ban on indoor service at bars and restaurants; lower limits on gathering sizes; shutting down party buses; and requiring bars and restaurants to close at 11 p.m. Reservations also will be required for all guests at bars and restaurants.
The new restrictions in Chicago were triggered by a steady increase in the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate and virus-related hospitalizations.
Other businesses, such as fitness clubs, personal services, retail stores, movie theaters and performance venues can still operate under existing guidelines, typically at 40% capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer. Other measures remain in effect, including the requirement for all employees and customers to wear face coverings except in limited situations such as when they are seated and actively eating and drinking, limiting table size to no more than six people, ensuring social distancing and the expectation that gatherings in private residences remain limited to no more than six people.
The city will be offering a pair of webinars on Friday, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to help businesses understand the new regulations. To register and learn more visit chicago.gov/businesseducation. BACP investigators also will reach out to bar and restaurant owners directly to discuss the new regulations.