coronavirus illinois

Diners Celebrate Chicago's Move Into Mitigation Tier Allowing Indoor Dining

NBC Universal, Inc.

It was a day of celebration in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, as indoor dining was permitted to resume under the provisions of Illinois’ Tier 1 coronavirus mitigations.

“I feel great,” Samuel Ross, who visited a local eatery after the announcement was made Saturday. “It feels good to have beers on draft, just the freshness of draft beer brought me out today.”

Ross was one of several customers who spent their Saturday afternoon at the Haymarket Brewery in Chicago’s West Loop.

Under the conditions of Tier 1 mitigations, bars and restaurants can open to 25% capacity, with reservations required for parties of four or fewer people per table. Those establishments can be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

While many places welcomed the news of reopening, not everyone is ready to welcome back customers to indoor spaces, including Off-Color Brewing in Lincoln Park.

“Everybody has their risk tolerances and things that make sense for them and their businesses,” owner John Laffler said. “For us with the vaccine not quite here, but imminent, it’s beyond our risk tolerance to start bringing people indoors.”

In order for restaurants and bars to move to Phase 4 restrictions, the positivity rate must be at or below 6.5% for three consecutive days, ICU bed availability must remain above 20% for three straight days, and hospitalizations must remain steady, or decline, for seven out of 10 days.

In Chicago, the positivity rate is currently at 7.6% and falling, while the city is meeting the other criteria to move forward. If the city can get into Phase Four, then party limits will expand to 10 people or fewer.

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