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Photograph: Tom Rossiter

Chicago bars and restaurants are on track to resume indoor dining this weekend

The move hinges on the region's COVID-19 metrics.

Morgan Olsen

State officials announced today that Chicago is "on track to advance to Tier 1 [resurgence mitigations] on Saturday, January 23," which would allow indoor dining to resume at a limited capacity. The move hinges on the region's ability to stabilize or improve its COVID-19 metrics (i.e. keep test positivity rates down, ICU bed availability up and hospital patient count down).

If Region 11 can hold tight on all three fronts, Chicago restaurants and bars would be able to once again allow indoor dining, which has been prohibited since October 30, 2020. Of course, there would still be restrictions in place to keep diners and staff safe. Here's a quick rundown of the requirements that would be in place during Tier 1 resurgence mitigations:

  • Indoor service is limited to 25 percent capacity or 25 guests per room, whichever is fewer.
  • Bars and restaurants must close by 11pm and reopen no earlier than 6am the following day.
  • Establishments offering indoor service must serve food. 
  • Indoor reservations are capped at two hours.
  • Parties may not exceed four people, and dining only with members of the same household is recommended.
  • Patrons should be seated at tables and should not order, sit or congregate at the bar.
  • Tables should be spaced 6 feet apart.
  • Patrons should not congregate indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting. 
  • Patrons should not dance or stand indoors.
  • Reservations are required. 
  • Multiple parties may not be seated at the same table.

Tier 1 resurgence mitigations would also allow for social gatherings (including weddings and funerals) of 25 guests or 25 percent of a space's capacity, whichever is fewer. The state specifically notes that party buses would not be permitted during this tier.

Before you make dinner reservations, it's important to note that Region 11 (which contains Chicago) has not yet been given the green light to resume indoor dining on Saturday, January 23. It must maintain or improve its metrics today to advance to Tier 1 tomorrow. We'll keep this story updated as information becomes available.

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