Chicago moved to phase four of the state’s reopening plan Sunday, even as restrictions on indoor dining remain in place.
The shift means the city’s nonessential services curfew has been lifted, and bars and restaurants can now sit up to six guests at a table, according to City Hall.
But indoor dining and indoor events are limited to 25% capacity or 25 people per space. Establishments must stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and close for in-person service at midnight. Capacity for most other industries will remain at the lesser of 40% or 50 people, the city said.
Under state rules, Chicago had to reduce its test positivity rate to 6.5% or less for three consecutive days before it could use looser rules.
“We continue to see great progress in the ongoing fight against COVID-19, and I am thrilled that our metrics continue to move in the right direction,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot is quoted as saying in an emailed statement. “However, while we welcomed the return of limited indoor service last weekend, a rush to expand capacity too quickly would be irresponsible.”
The mayor noted that the number of coronavirus cases and positivity rates still are higher than before the second surge. “Now is the time to keep safeguards in place to ensure continued progress and hopefully prevent any rollbacks in the future,” she said in the statement.
On Sunday, state public health officials announced 2,428 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 40 more deaths. That brings the total number of coronavirus cases in the state to 1.1 million and 19,243 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The state’s seven-day test positivity rate through Saturday stood at 3.9%, while the test positivity rate was at 5%, officials said.
In addition, the state administered 36,851 doses on Saturday, with the seven-day average at 42,931 doses. The state says 981,988 vaccines have been given, including 156,872 for long-term care facilities.
The vaccine rollout comes as big chain pharmacies have administered the first round of vaccinations at skilled nursing homes in Illinois, but will take about two more weeks to serve assisted living sites — a delay that may prove fatal for some residents, public health advocates warn.
The Chicago Department of Public Health will monitor the effect of the return of limited indoor dining for at least two weeks before considering further loosening of regulations.
Phase four initially was in effect for much of the state from late June through the fall. An aggressive fall resurgence of COVID-19 saw the entire state again placed under tighter restrictions in November. While indoor dining continued as Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order was flouted in many parts of the state, the Lightfoot administration issued numerous citations to city restaurants and bars.
Courtesy of- Chicago Tribune News