New restrictions take effect in Chicago and four suburban counties Friday as coronavirus cases continue to surge.
Chicago officials announced new restrictions Thursday, rolling back the city's reopening progress once again.
The new restrictions mean yet another shut down for indoor bar service and a curfew for non-essential businesses as city officials warn a second surge of the coronavirus is underway.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the new restrictions during a Thursday briefing. The newest restrictions, which take effect at 6 a.m. Friday and continue for at least two weeks, include:
- Business curfew on non-essential businesses beginning at 10 p.m.
- In effect nightly from 10 p.m. -6 a.m.
- Last call for serving liquor at 9 p.m.
- Take-out and curb-side pick-up at restaurants still permitted
- Bars, breweries, and taverns without a food license are prohibited from operating any indoor service
- Increased emphasis of current guidelines
- Max. 6 people in your personal bubble (e.g., no household gatherings >6 people of non-household members)
- Face coverings in all indoor and outdoor public settings
The city warned that if the positivity rate increases above 8% for three straight days, the city will once again close indoor dining as well. Currently, the seven-day positivity rate is at 6.4%, marking a rise that health experts say can't be explained by an increase in testing.
Currently, Chicago is reporting an average of more than 600 new coronavirus cases daily, the "highest daily rate since the tail end of the first surge at the end of May," officials said. On Thursday, Lightfoot said the average daily case rate had increased by more than 50% in the last week.
"We are no doubt, whatsoever in the second surge," Lightfoot said Thursday. "This is what it looks like."
She said while the surge is not surprising, she attributed it largely to the fact that COVID thrives in places "where people let their guard down."
In four suburban counties, enhanced restrictions also take effect Friday after two of Illinois' 11 health care regions saw sustained increases in positivity rates, automatically triggering more mitigations.
Region 7, comprised of Will and Kankakee counties, had already been under the enhanced mitigation rules earlier this year, but will now go back to those policies for at least the next two weeks, according to Pritzker’s office.
Region 8, comprised of DuPage and Kane counties, has seen its positivity rate spike dramatically, rising from 5.6% on Oct. 8 to 9% on Oct. 17, the last date for which data is currently available.
Those increases in positivity rates mean that all indoor dining and bar service will be suspended effective Friday in those four counties. Capacity limits will also be enforced for outdoor seating at those venues, and gatherings of over 25 people will be prohibited under the restrictions.
All party buses will also be banned in those four counties.
Two other Illinois regions are currently under the enhanced mitigation rules, including Region 1 in northwestern Illinois. Region 5, located in southeastern Illinois, saw the new rules go into effect on Thursday as a result of elevated positivity rates.