Lightfoot Announces Further Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions for Restaurants, Bars, Liquor Stores

Carly Behm | The PhoenixRestaurants and bars can serve at 50 percent capacity and stay open until 1 a.m., and stores can sell alcohol until 11 p.m.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lifted certain restrictions for restaurants, bars and liquor stores March 2 as the city continues to see a low COVID-19 positivity rate and a growing vaccinated population. 

City restaurants and bars can now operate at 50 percent capacity and can stay open as late as 1 a.m., according to a press release from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). The press release also announced stores can now sell liquor until 11 p.m. — previously people couldn’t buy alcohol past 9 p.m. — and indoor fitness classes can include up to 20 people.

In the announcement, Lightfoot reminded Chicago residents to remain diligent, cautious and responsible as the city opens up more.

“We have made incredible progress in recent weeks and months, and I thank our business community for their ongoing commitment to saving lives,” Lightfoot said. “I am thrilled that we have reached 50% capacity, but I again call on all of our businesses and residents to double down on what works.”

Data for Chicago’s COVID-19 cases diagnosed per day, COVID-19 test positivity, emergency department visits for “COVID-like illnesses” and ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients were used to determine if and when the city can roll back certain business restrictions. 

All four of these measures are currently in the “low-risk” and “moderate-risk” level in Chicago, which is why the restrictions can ease, according to the press release. 

“We have been trending in the right direction and I congratulate Chicagoans for continuing to do the right thing in helping us contain the spread of the virus,” CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady said. ”We need to keep it up so we can continue to reopen our city safely and smartly, and get back to doing the things we love.”

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