Chicago reopens: Health officials relax COVID-19 exterior restrictions, maintain most interior rules

Chicago reopens: Health officials relax COVID-19 exterior restrictions, maintain most interior rules

CHICAGO (WLS) – Even with the increase in COVID cases, Chicago health officials announced Thursday they are relaxing restrictions on outdoor activities and spaces. Chicago is relaxing outdoor capacity limits for restaurants and bars, which can now seat 10 people per table, provided they are six feet apart.
Most of the current domestic capacity limits will remain in place in all industries. The indoor capacity of bars, restaurants, social events, performance venues, events for seated spectators, places of worship and other establishments will remain limited to the lesser of 50% capacity or 50 people per room or floor. In each setting, a physical distance of 6 feet should be maintained between different parts, which means that facilities may have to operate at a lower capacity to reach 6 feet between all parts. In order to ensure consistency across industries. , the capacity of indoor fitness classes will now increase to the lesser of 50% or 50 people per room, provided that 6 feet of social distancing can be maintained between clients and face coverings are worn at all times.

While the changes only affect outdoor spaces, many business owners say that with global warming, the timing couldn’t be better.

FULL LIST: Chicago’s updated COVID-19 guidelines by industry / activity

This is good news at City Winery. Their Riverwalk and West Loop locations are an outdoor favorite.

“This is a step in the right direction for City Winery and for all restaurants in Chicago, and we need good news,” said Dan Conroe, Marketing Director for City Winery. “It gives us a lot more flexibility in the types of events we can host, and it’s great for the clients of the event, the people who are planning weddings in 2020. We really, really think they have to. just change their plans or make tough decisions. about who is invited. ”

The changes also mean more patrons on the Orso Restaurant terrace in the Old Town. “Restaurants are struggling right now, and so every little bit is definitely helping us get back to where we need to be,” said Nick White, Managing Director of Orso’s.

The move comes amid an increase in COVID cases in the city and state over the past two weeks. Chicago currently has an average of 370 new cases every day, up 24% in one week, and is approaching the “high-risk” number of 400.

“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen an increase in our metrics, and I’m concerned,” said CRPD Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady. “But we’re taking a few steps in the outdoor environments, recognizing that in the outdoor environments where people, where ventilation is naturally very good, as long as people do the masking and social distancing. ”

The city’s theaters, performance halls and ball parks also have greater outdoor capacity. At Field and Wrigley guaranteed rates, they will increase from 20% to 25% capacity.

The CDPH will re-evaluate the metrics in a week’s time to determine if and how Chicago could ease regulations and move to a “bridge to phase 5.”

  • Bars and Restaurants: The maximum outdoor table size can increase to ten people, with tables set up so that customers are six feet away from customers at other tables
  • Social events (for example, weddings, potlucks, and other community events): Total outdoor capacity can increase to the lesser of 50% or 100 people
  • Performance halls, theaters and events with seated spectators: Outdoor venues with a capacity greater than or equal to 200 may operate at a capacity of 25%. Small rooms can operate at a maximum capacity of 50% or 50 people.
  • Outdoor recreation: Groups of 50 people maximum; multiple groups allowed
  • Places of worship: no external capacity limit as long as six feet of social distance is maintained between the parties
  • Health and Fitness Centers: Outdoor classes can increase up to 100 people
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