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City Ordering Bars, Restaurants To Close At Midnight

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot is ordering all bars, breweries, and restaurants that serve liquor to close at midnight, in an effort to further curb the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago.

The city already required bars, restaurants, and other businesses with on-site consumption liquor licenses to stop serving alcohol after 11 p.m. Now those establishments must close their doors entirely at midnight.

Curbside pickup or delivery of food can continue after midnight, but only if customers are not allowed to enter or stay in the building after that time. Restaurants that don't have liquor licenses can stay open after midnight.

"While the vast majority of establishments are following regulations and taking important preventative steps, this directive will minimize the spread of COVID-19 by preventing late-night congregating that could occur after the cutoff of alcohol sales," the mayor's office said in a statement.

A rule requiring liquor stores and other businesses with off-site liquor consumption licenses to halt alcohol sales at 9 p.m. remains in effect.

City officials said the Department of Business Affairs and consumer Protection will enforce the alcohol rules by responding to complaints and canvassing the city's entertainment districts.

The Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Fire Department and the Department of Buildings also will help enforce the city's capacity and social distancing requirements at businesses throughout the city during Phase 4 of reopening.

Violations of the reopening guidelines are subject to fines of up to $10,000 per violation. The city has said it will enforce closure orders in severe cases.

Since the city entered Phase 3 of reopening on June 3, BACP has received 1,112 reopening complaints, conducted 483 investigations, issued 81 warnings, cited 17 businesses, and ordered the immediate closure of one business.

On Thursday, public health officials announced Illinois had surpassed 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in more than a month, although the recent increase in cases came as the state also hit a new high mark in testing, with more than 36,000 tests reported on Thursday.

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