Chicago Officials Announce New Restrictions for Bars, Restaurants Selling Alcohol as Coronavirus Cases Rise

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Chicago officials announced Sunday new restrictions for businesses that sell liquor to have less than half of their regular maximum capacity and in addition, cap entrance to 100 people as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continue to rise.

As of Sunday morning, Illinois had a total of 66 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The City of Chicago released a statement saying:

"Due to concerns of St. Patrick’s Day festivities continuing through St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, the City today issued new precautionary measures and guidelines to enforce large gatherings at bars and liquor establishments throughout Chicago. As part of the City's efforts to keep residents safe and healthy, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) are enforcing all business establishments that sell liquor to have less than half of their regular max capacity. Additionally, any establishments that sell liquor will have a max capacity of 100 persons. 

As part of these measures to limit large gatherings, the City is also requiring business owners to discontinue lining patrons up who are waiting for entry outside of establishments and on the public way. BACP and CPD are working with local entrepreneurs and business owners to ensure they're monitoring the new requirements, and the Departments will issue citations to owners if any establishment fails to enforce the new capacity limits."

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made a guest appearance Sunday on NBC News’ 'Meet the Press' where he spoke about his disappointment with the lack of federal government’s quick response on the international crisis--adding he was seriously considering imposing stricter measures to ensure coronavirus is contained.

Last Wednesday, Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation--the state's version of a state of emergency-- and shortly thereafter, announced a ban on all large gatherings of a thousand people or more.

“We’ve been on the trajectory now and planning for each of these steps because it’s not easy, you can imagine each one of these decisions has consequences to them that are not just about the pandemic, they’re also about people’s livelihoods so we’re actually looking hard at that decision-making today,” Pritzker said Sunday morning.

“We obviously saw what happened in Europe, nowhere in the United States, really has there been a lockdown on bars and restaurants but it’s something that we’re seriously looking at,” he said.

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