CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s bars and restaurants want to be at 50 percent capacity by this Thursday – that is the message the restaurant coalition sent to Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina talked to a bar owner who was opening Monday night for the first time in months – about his hopes moving forward.READ MORE: With Delta Variant Worries Mounting, COVID Testing Returns Alongside Vaccination At 2 New Chicago Area Sites
Remedy, at 1910 N. Milwaukee Ave., turned off the lights and closed completely for five months for the sake of their bottom line. Now, they are back and making a go of it – hoping for another change soon.
The tavern in Bucktown near the boundary with Logan Square is a classic neighborhood bar.
“There’s no pandemic playbook, so you’re flying by the seat of your pants,” said David Halpern of 4 Entertainment Group.
They chose to close completely back in October, when Mayor Lori Lightfoot put a business curfew in effect and shut down indoor service at bars, like theirs, with no food license.
“We weren’t able to stay open for food delivery or food options,” Halpern said. “We have no outdoor capacity.”READ MORE: 4 People Hospitalized When Car Crashes Into Building In Humboldt Park
But with indoor drinking allowed again at 40 percent capacity – which allows for 40 people at Remedy, Halpern said it is worth their while to get back behind the bar – and they’re hoping an increased capacity limit so they can fill more of these seats soon.
“Every percent makes a difference,” Halpern said.
The Chicago Restaurant Coalition echoed that Monday, with a call for the city to increase capacities in places like Remedy to 50 percent by Thursday, March 4.
“And some later hours would be a huge help for us,” Halpern said.
We checked in with the city on the push for 50 percent capacity by Thursday, a Mayor’s office representative told us they are tracking the numbers and hope to ease current regulations soon.
The Mayor’s office referred us to an earlier statement from Feb. 10 in which they announced 25 percent capacity, or 50 people per room would be allowed – with capacity restrictions being eased if coronavirus metrics keep going down.MORE NEWS: At Least 1 Person Killed, 22 Wounded In Gun Violence In Chicago So Far This Weekend
Such decisions depend on the number of COVID cases diagnosed per day, the COVID test positivity rate, the number of emergency department visits for COVID-like illness, and the number of ICU beds occupied by COVID patients.