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Indoor Dining Banned In Chicago, Governor Cites Rising COVID Case Numbers

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago restaurants will no longer provide indoor dining starting Friday, according to Governor JB Pritzker, who said the region's COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the reason for the mitigation effort.

The news follows mitigation efforts set for suburban Cook County announced Monday by the governor.

"Region 11 is now averaging more than twice as many COVID-related hospital admissions per day as it was a month ago, with a positivity rate that has almost doubled since the beginning of October," said Pritzker. "So, starting on Friday the city, too, will begin operating under our resurgence metrics, with a closure of indoor restaurant and bar service and a restrained gathering cap limit of 25 people. 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."

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady earlier said, while she would support the governor if he did move forward with enhanced mitigations for Chicago, she said, "obviously, I'm concerned."

"I am very worried about what that is going to mean for the financial health of our restaurants, frankly, and all of the people who work at them," she said.

Arwady urged those who can afford it to consider eating at restaurants that offer outdoor dining in winter, or regularly get delivery or carryout from local restaurants. Even without a ban on indoor dining, Arwady warned that "this is going to be a difficult winter for everybody," with people spending more time indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.

"I think the more that we can be serious about COVID, and think about also how we can support each other and support small businesses through the winter is going to be crucial," Arwady said.

As for restaurants that have been putting up igloos, tents, bubbles, or other temporary structures to expand outdoor dining in the winter, Arwady said city officials have been evaluating all of the designs being submitted for approval to make sure they have proper air ventilation, fire safety measures, and proper entries and exits.

"I have every confidence that the structures that are being put up are COVID-appropriate, and generally good for use," she said.

According to a news release from the governor's office "Region 11 has triggered additional mitigations due to a sustained increase in its positivity rate as well as a sustained increase in COVID-related hospitalizations for more than seven of the past ten days. These increases exceed the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state's Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan. Region 11 is the second of the state's 11 regions to trigger additional mitigations based on sustained increases in positivity and hospitalization rates, the first being its neighbor, Region 10 (Suburban Cook County) earlier in the week.

The mitigation efforts for Chicago include:


  • No indoor service
  • All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m.
  • All bar 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


  • No indoor dining or bar service
  • All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m.
  • Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings 

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity
  • No party buses
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

The restrictions do not apply to schools or polling places.

The governor said he is well aware of what the mitigation efforts will do to the city's restaurant community, already devastated by closures during the early stages of the pandemic.

"Thus far, nearly $33 million has been distributed in emergency grants and assistance to businesses and communities in Region 11 alone. Chicago businesses, as well as other regions currently under additional mitigations, will receive priority consideration for the current round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG), with $220 million available to help offset costs and losses businesses have incurred as a result of the pandemic," according to a news release from the governor's office.

Public health officials reported 4,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois on Tuesday, as well as 46 additional deaths.

The new cases announced by the Illinois Department of Public Health account for 6.4% of the 62,074 new tests reported on Tuesday. The statewide seven-day average positivity rate also has climbed to 6.4%, the highest it's been since June 2, when the rate was 7%. The state's average positivity rate has jumped 42% in the past two weeks, from 4.5% on Oct. 13.

Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 382,985 coronavirus cases, including 9,568 deaths.

On Monday, citing the rapid spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the area showing no signs of moving downward, Governor JB Pritzker said suburban Cook County will undergo restrictions starting this week.

The governor and the state's health department are enforcing restrictions for Regions 4 and 10. That includes Metro East and Suburban Cook County starting at 12:01 am on Wednesday, October 28.

The regions must limit gatherings to 25 people and bars and restaurants can only serve outdoors until 11:00 p.m. Six of the 11 regions are under mitigations because of rising COVID-19 indicators.

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