Starting Friday, indoor service at Chicago restaurants and bars will be suspended in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The restrictions were triggered following increases in the number of COVID-19 cases for eight consecutive days and hospital admissions for coronavirus-like illness for seven days.
Bars and restaurants in the city must close by 11 p.m. and all patrons must be seated at outdoor tables, according to the state’s mitigation plan. Additionally, gatherings must be limited to 25 people or 25% of a room’s overall capacity.
Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered bars to suspend indoor service and ordered non-essential businesses to shut down at 10 p.m. as part of an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Per Lightfoot’s order, all liquor sales at bars, restaurants and stores must end by 9 p.m. and social gatherings of any size to end at 10 p.m.
The governor’s announcement comes a day after suburban Cook County and the Metro East region of the state triggered similar restrictions.
“What we are starting to see now, first with suburban Cook County, and now with Chicago, is that mitigation measures are needed because COVID-19 hospital admissions are going up alongside increases in test positivity,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “Based on current trends, we soon could face reduced hospital bed availability and overwhelming our health care systems.”
Officials on Tuesday reported 4,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 46 virus-related deaths, bringing statewide totals to 382,985 cases and 9,568 deaths.
By Friday, seven of the state’s 11 regions will be operating under the state’s resurgence mitigation framework.
Suburban Cook County, region 10, and Metro East, region 4, will begin operating under tightened mitigations Wednesday. Regions 1, 5, 7 and 8 are already operating under stricter regulations — though region 1, in northern Illinois, is operating under “tier 2” restrictions that limit gatherings to 10 people and patrons at bars and restaurants to six per table. Regions start in “tier 1” and advance to the second tier if they experience a sustained resurgence of COVID-19, according to the state’s mitigation plan.
“We can’t ignore what is happening around us – because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring. So please, no matter where you live, what your politics are, where you work or who you love: Illinois: mask up! And we’ll get through this together,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a press release.
The statewide preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate is 6.4%, nearly a full percentage point higher than a week ago, according to IDPH data.
As of Monday night, 2,758 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, and of those, 595 patients were in intensive care units and 241 patients were on ventilators, according to state health officials.