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Lightfoot: 2-Week COVID-19 Business Curfew In Chicago Starts Friday

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Citing the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said a business curfew in the city will start Friday October 23 for non-essential businesses and go for two weeks.

Lightfoot said the city is in the second surge of COVID-19. The business curfew goes for two weeks "in the hopes of stemming the spread of this disease."

Starting Friday October 23 at 6:00 a.m., all non-essential businesses will be closed to the public from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. And all liquor sales will stop after 9:00 p.m. Essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants with take-out delivery services are exempt. Lightfoot said she would not hesitate to roll the city back into Phase 3 or a stay-on-place if things get worse.

"We are taking these measures to avoid potential catastrophic impacts. The rapid rise in cases that we're experiencing here in Chicago is consistent with what we're seeing, not only across the state, but across the nation, and in many other countries around the world," Lightfoot said. "COVID-19 thrives in places and in circumstances where people let their guard down. And as the weather cools and people move in indoors, the risk of the spread rises exponentially. That's why we have been preaching about limiting the size of gatherings, about wearing a mask everywhere, you can, and particularly outside.

"We're now seeing an uptick again of large groups of people gathering without social distancing and worse, without mask. Some of it, of course, is a misplaced sense that those you know don't have it. That's wrong."

Doctor Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public health echoed the mayor's warnings and said final rollbacks, including the complete closing of restaurants, will happen if Chicago reaches a positivity rate of 8%. Right now, the city's positivity rate is at 6.4% and rising.

"New cases in Chicago stands at 645 new cases per day. But that's a seven day rolling average and we've already had multiple days with 800 or even 900 cases coming in, and the numbers are still going up, just one week ago, we were at 418 cases per day, an increase of 54% in just one week," Arwady said.

"We only catch the tip of the iceberg. And I do want to remind everybody that if you are having symptoms or you have had a known COVID exposure, you must get tested. If you are living in a setting where we're seeing a lot of spread, we need you to get tested. But we know that not everybody is," she said.

The head of the city's health department said people are letting the guard down and the COVID found in groups is evidence of that.

"Large gatherings and even small gatherings are posing significant health risks right now. There is a 30% chance that someone in a group of 25 people has COVID-19. There is a 50% chance that someone in a group of 50 has COVID-19 even getting together, 10 people in Chicago, 14% chance that someone has COVID-19," Arwady said.

"This moment is a critical inflection point for Chicago, and these new restrictions and guidelines represent our ongoing effort to stay ahead of this pandemic through the data and science of this disease. Countless Chicagoans have done an outstanding job in being responsible and following public health guidance, but now we all must double-down on our commitment to our health and the health of our city in order to bend the curve and shape our future back to where it needs to be," added the mayor.

What's covered in the Business Curfew:

  • Non-essential businesses beginning at 10:00 p.m. It's in effect nightly from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
  • Last call for serving liquor is 9:00 p.m.
  • Take-out and curb-side pick-up at restaurants still permitted.
  • Bars, breweries, and taverns without a food license cannot operate any indoor service
  • Maximum of six people in your personal bubble. That means no household gathering of more than six non-household members.
  • Face coverings are mandatory in all indoor and outdoor public settings.

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