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Here are the safety guidelines for Chicago businesses reopening in Phase 3

Restaurants, retail stores and parks will all be operating under new guidelines as the city begins to reopen.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Chicago is expected to enter Phase 3 of the city's reopening plan in early June, allowing businesses throughout the city to reopen under new safety guidelines. Yesterday, the city released its detailed guidelines for the different types of businesses that will open their doors in the coming weeks, outlining the various precautions each industry will need to take to ensure the safety of its employees and customers.

As expected, many of the guidelines are in line with those issued by the state of Illinois, with a focus on reducing contact between individuals through social distancing, requiring the use of face coverings, frequent cleaning, lots of hand sanitizer and signage that reminds individuals about new procedures. Businesses can complete a self-certification process to ensure that guidelines are implemented, but according to a release, the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will be enforcing the new guidance.

You'll find detailed PDFs outlining the specific guidelines for each industry on Chicago's Reopening Business Portal, but we've gathered some of the most notable guidelines being applied to businesses throughout the city.

Food service

- An expanded definition of "outdoor dining." In an attempt to allow more restaurant to offer outdoor dining (indoors is off limits at the moment), the city is including "rooftops, rooms with retractable roofs and indoor spaces where 50% or more of a wall can be removed via the opening of windows, doors, or panels provided that dining tables are within 8-ft from such openings." Also, an impermeable barrier is acceptable if tables can't be spaced at least six feet apart.

- Face coverings required (but not while you eat). Once you're seated, you can remove your face covering so that you can drink or eat, but when you get up from your seat, the mask goes back on. Don't worry, all restaurant staff will be wearing face coverings, too.

- Small parties only. No more than six people can be seated at a table, so don't even think about trying to throw a giant banquet with all of your friends in attendance.

Parks and outdoor attractions

- Social distancing supervisors. It could feel like a middle school dance all over again in parks this summer, as the city is encouraging the use of dedicated staff to urge social distancing between individuals in large public spaces.

- Face coverings required. If you're in a park, you need to be wearing something that covers your mouth and nose. Unfortunately, this likely applies to folks who are running, biking or engaging in physical activity in public outdoor spaces.

Reckless Records Wicker Park
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas


- Limited capacities. The city is mandating a 25 percent capacity for non-essential retail stores (record stores, clothing boutiques, etc.) and a 50 percent capacity for essential retail stores (grocery stores, home improvement stores, etc.). You may have to wait in line for entrance if you're visiting a popular retail store on a weekend or in the evening.

- Face covering required. If you're entering a retail store, you're bound to come in contact with others, so face coverings are required to protect yourself and anyone else who happens to be shopping.

Personal services

- Limited capacities. Hair salons, nail salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors will be limited to 25 percent capacity. Waiting rooms and checkout areas will be limited to 10 people or less, while maintaining social distancing.

- Lots of protection. You probably won't be able to recognize your stylist or tattoo artists under the face coverings, face shield, googles and gloves that they may be wearing. Personal services involve a lot of close contact, so employees will be taking extra precautions—and you will be, too.

- Screening on entry. Employees will be subject to temperature and health checks upon entry, and customers may receive some of the same screening to ensure that everyone is safe. The city is recommending that a "questionnaire, verbal agreement, non-verbal agreement" be given to customers to ensure that they're not exhibiting symptoms.

Photograph: Danielle Cerullo via Unsplash

Health and fitness clubs

- One-on-one training when indoors. If you want to go inside your gym, you'll need to be receiving one-on-one training and be accompanied by an employee at all times. Capacity will be limited to 25 percent, accounting for all pairs of employees and customers.

- Small outdoor fitness classes. Gyms will be able to offer outdoor classes to groups of 10 or fewer guests, while ensuring social distancing from other groups of guests.

- No more locker rooms, saunas, etc. You'll need to show up ready to work out (and prepare to go home sweaty) because locker rooms and other spaces in gyms where people can congregate are being closed to prevent gatherings.

Hotels and accommodations

- No more hotel restaurants or bars. You can still enjoy room service or pick up a bite to eat, but indoor hotel restaurants and bars won't be seating and serving customers during Phase 3.

- Housekeeping by request only. To limit the time spent by employees in guests' rooms, daily housekeeping services will be provided by request only (and only when guests are not in their rooms).

Commercial office buildings

- Say goodbye to break rooms and common areas. To adhere to the limit on gatherings of 10 people or less, office buildings are being asked to close small break rooms and remove furniture from lobbies and other shared spaces that don't adhere to social distancing guidelines.

- A not-so-open office. Open office plans are out for the time being—the city is recommending the installation of impermeable barriers between desks and workstations to enhance safety.


- Separate kids into smaller groups. There's a focus on limiting groups of children to 10 or less and on permanently assigning childcare staff to those groups, to reduce unnecessary contact with other individuals.

- Masks for adults (and some kids). Children aren't required (but are encouraged) to wear coverings when they're inside childcare facilities, while staff, parents and anyone else inside the facilities must wear them.

- Health screenings and temperature checks. Children entering childcare facilities must be undergo daily health checks at the entrance, including a screening for symptoms and a temperature check. Those who display signs of illness or with a fever of 100.4° can't be admitted.

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