Last week, the city canceled Chicago's St. Patrick's Day river dyeing and parades, but that didn't stop revelers from lining up at bars in neighborhoods like River North, Wrigleyville and Wicker Park on Saturday, March 14. This morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the situation by announcing new restrictions for Chicago businesses that sell liquor, capping capacity at 100 people. Now Governor J.B. Pritzker is going one step further, ordering all restaurants and bars throughout Illinois to close to dine-in customers through March 30.
The order will take effect after restaurants and bars close on Monday, March 16, and will allow restaurants to continue offering drive-through service and curbside pickup. In his daily coronavirus briefing, Pritzker stated that he is working with restaurant owners and food-delivery services to ensure that restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open and continue making home deliveries, promising more details in the days ahead.
"I know how difficult this will be on small businesses around the state, this is another hard step," Pritzker said. "But we must do everything we can to safeguard the health and safety of the citizens of the state of Illinois and that requires urgent action."
During his statement, Pritzker expressed his disappointment with Illinois residents who ignored his request that people not congregate in large groups over the weekend in an effort to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Justifying his decision to close restaurants and bars, Pritzker explained that "the time for persuasion and public appeals is over; the time for action is here."
The closure of Chicago's restaurants and bars (including Time Out Market Chicago, which closes after dinner service on Sunday, March 15) means that many employees will have their hours reduced or won't be able to work at all. There's no better time to find ways to support your local restaurants and bars by buying gift cards online, ordering meals for pick-up or contributing to fundraisers that have been organized to support staff.
Keep up to date on the latest developments in Chicago with our ongoing list of event cancellations and venue closures.