Following the lead of the city of Chicago, the Cook County Department of Public Health is easing coronavirus mitigation measures, including expanding capacity limits at bars and restaurants.
According to a press release from CCDPH, bars, restaurants and event spaces will be able to expand their indoor seating capacity to 50% or 50 people, whichever is lower.
The change to capacity limits is the same one announced by officials in Chicago on Tuesday. There, bars and restaurants can expand their capacity to 50%, and bars will be permitted to remain open until 1 a.m., as opposed to the 11 p.m. curfew previously in place.
“Although the progress made in the metrics is encouraging, we must continue to protect the safety and health of Cook County residents and wear masks, watch our distance, and wash our hands,” Dr. Rachel Rubin, Senior Medical Officer and Co-Lead, Cook County Department of Public Health, said in a statement.
Officials are also reminding the public that masks are still required inside of indoor establishments, with everyone 2 years of age and older requiring facial coverings.
The news comes as COVID metrics continue to improve in the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the positivity rate in Cook County has continued to drop in recent days, falling to 3.4% as of Feb. 27.
The region’s ICU bed availability has remained steady at 26%, while overall hospitalizations have decreased each of the last 10 days.