Chicago's bars and restaurants can open their doors to diners beginning June 26 but only at 25 percent capacity, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday.
The city’s bars and restaurants for months were only allowed to offer curbside pickup or delivery due to the coronavirus pandemic and stay at home order. Outdoor patio service was allowed for restaurants starting June 3, and bars and breweries were allowed to serve outdoor guests Wednesday.
But Lightfoot will allow limited indoor dining and drinking on June 26, the soonest the state will allow as that’s when all regions of Illinois move into Phase 4 of the reopening plan.
Under the city’s rules, restaurants and bars will be allowed to have indoor service, but only at 25 percent capacity with a limit of 50 people per room or floor. Customers will have to be seated at tables 6 feet apart with 10 or fewer people per table.
People will only be allowed to be seated at bars and similar businesses for up to two hours. On-site alcohol sales at bars and restaurants must end at 11 p.m., and carryout or delivery alcohol sales must end at 9 p.m.
Employees are required to wear face coverings at all times, and customers are required to wear face coverings when seated, according to the city’s guidelines.
Outdoor seating should remain the priority “for safe dining and drinking,” the city said.
The mayor has pushed the state to allow indoor dining for weeks, despite being even more strict with other parts of Chicago’s reopening than the state has been. In fact, Chicago likely won’t enter its own form of Phase 4 until July 1, the city’s public health commissioner previously announced.
The Illinois Restaurant Association has pushed for indoor dining with restrictions, and Lightfoot said it was badly needed to save the industry and small restaurants in Chicago. Some restaurants, closed to all but delivery and pickup for months, have closed or were facing closures.
Chicago is getting about 185 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 14 related deaths per day, officials said Thursday.