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Photograph: Jeff Marini

State bans indoor dining and drinking in Chicago as cases surge

Here's what you need to know about the latest COVID-19 restrictions in Chicago.

By
Zach Long
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Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced today that indoor dining in Chicago will be suspended, effective Friday, October 30. The state-mandated rollback comes less than a week after city officials shut down indoor bar service and instituted a curfew on non-essential businesses. Despite those recent efforts, COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations continue to rise in Chicago, which triggered the latest updates.

The following restrictions will be implemented on Friday, though it is still unclear if the Restore Illinois mitigation plan will supersede the non-essential business curfew the city announced last week, which requires restaurants and bars to close by 10pm, with all liquor sales ending at 9pm.

  • All bars and restaurants close at 11pm and may reopen no earlier than 6am the following day
  • No indoor service
  • All bar and restaurant patrons should be seated at tables outside
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing or standing indoors
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table
  • Gatherings, meeting and social events are limited to 25 people or 25 percent of room capacity, whichever is smaller

During a press conference earlier today, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady stated that as of Tuesday, October 27, Chicago is averaging 798 new cases per day and is reporting a 7.8 percent test positivity rate, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data.

"Right now in Chicago, between 41,000 and 57,000 Chicagoans have active, infectious COVID," Dr. Arwady said. "This is spreading, and this is why we recommended last week and continue to recommend that you not invite anyone into your home that does not live there."

She also revealed that rates among Chicagoans ages 30 to 39 and 40 to 49 are the same as the highest rates seen among 18 to 29 years old, reiterating that everyone must be careful about spreading COVID-19 to their friends and family.

"We've been talking a lot about how our youngest Chicagoans have been driving a lot of COVID, and that remains true, but right now we're seeing as many people in their 30s and as many people in their 40s being diagnosed with COVID," Dr. Arwady noted.

City officials have not yet reacted to Gov. Pritzker's new restrictions, but we'll update as they do.

UPDATE (October 27, 5:15pm): A news release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office suggests that Gov. Pritzker did not consult with the city before his announcement of new regulations in Chicago. It remains unclear how the state's latest guidance will interact with Chicago's existing non-essential business curfew.

"The Governor and I are aligned that we need residents to mask-up and follow the City and State's health guidance in order to reverse recent troubling trends, but we must remain in lock step when it comes to the rollout of new restrictions," Mayor Lightfoot stated in the release. "I urge residents to continue to find ways to support our small businesses and their local communities."

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