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Photograph: Anthony Tahlier

Chicago restaurants and bars can reopen indoor seating on June 26

Here's everything you need to know about the city's next step of reopening.

By
Morgan Olsen
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Chicago's reopening plans continue to progress today, with Mayor Lori Lightfoot announcing that restaurants, bars and breweries will be able to resume indoor service on Friday, June 26, aligning with the state's plan to enter Phase 4 on the same day. The caveat? Restaurants and bars can operate at just 25 percent capacity with a maximum of 50 people per dining room.

"Our neighborhood restaurants, bars and breweries all stand as among the most cherished parts of our communities and are integral to the fabric of our entire city," Mayor Lightfoot said in a press release. "Like all Chicagoans, I am personally excited to see them take these new, cautious steps towards safely reopening, and commend their collaboration throughout this unprecedented crisis. As we move ahead in the coming weeks and months, I look forward to strengthening our partnership as we continue our journey in rebuilding our city and becoming stronger and more equitable than we have ever been."

It's worth noting that bars and breweries are included in this new phase, even though they've historically been separated from restaurants during the reopening process. The city is asking that drinking establishments that don't serve food limit guests' to two-hour stays. They're also encouraged to provide food if they can.

Outdoor dining and drinking, which is currently allowed, will still be permitted and encouraged in this new phase. Restaurant and bar owners are asked to continue following social distancing requirements on patios and rooftops to keep staff and guests safe. To help restaurants and bars that don't already have outdoor seating, City Council passed temporary reforms that reduce fees and speed up the permitting process.

"Restaurants and their teams are suffering greatly as a result of COVID-19, and while we are eager to fully reopen our dining room, we respect that the City of Chicago is receiving the best information available pertaining to public health," said Erick Williams, the owner and chef behind Virtue Restaurant & Bar. "The safety of our team and guests has and will continue to be our first priority. Today’s announcement reinforces that value while bringing us one step closer to improving revenue potential."

Want to know what it will be like to dine in a restaurant again? The city has updated its guidelines, which include everything from cleaning standards and hygiene requirements spacing out tables to maintain social distancing. One thing that's not going away? You'll still need to don a cloth face covering when you're not seated, so don't forget to mask up before heading out.

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