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Photograph: Carolina Mariana Rodríguez

Chicago bars that don’t serve food will no longer be allowed to offer indoor seating

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is rolling back allowances for bars, gyms and salons.

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen

A recent uptick of COVID-19 cases in Chicago is causing Mayor Lori Lightfoot to roll back some reopening allowances for bars, restaurants, gyms and salons this week. In a press release this morning, the city announced that starting on Friday, July 24 at 12:01am, the following restrictions will be instated:

  • Bars, taverns and breweries that don't serve food will no longer be able to seat customers indoors. These establishments may continue to offer outdoor service like they did during Phase 3 of the city's reopening plan.
  • The maximum party size at restaurants and bars will be reduced to six people.
  • Indoor fitness classes will be reduced to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Salon services that require the removal of face coverings (i.e. shaves and facials) will no longer be permitted.
  • Residential property managers should limit guest entry to five people per unit to avoid parties.

"We have made so much progress here in Chicago in containing the spread of the virus, protecting our health system and saving lives, and in general, the virus remains under control locally. But we are again seeing a steady increase in new cases," Mayor Lightfoot says in a press release. "While we aren’t near the peak of the pandemic from earlier this year, none of us wants to go back there, and we feel these restrictions will help limit further community spread."

The recent surge in new cases has been fueled in part by an uptick in cases among young people, "as the city has seen more social activity and interactions in bars, restaurants, parks and the lakefront," according to the press release. This morning Gov. J.B. Pritzker signaled his support of Chicago's decision to roll back reopening guidelines, noting that "the state stands behind these municipalities in their efforts."

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will host webinars later this week to give business owners an overview of the new changes that will be introduced over the weekend.

"I can’t emphasize enough that we all need to continue to abide by the public health guidance: practice social distancing and limit gatherings, wear masks at all times in public settings as required by law, and continue to wash your hands frequently," says Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

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