coronavirus chicago

Lightfoot Says Shutting Down Bars, Indoor Dining Is a Possibility if Coronavirus Cases Keep Rising

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that she would not hesitate to reinstate restrictions to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, including shutting down indoor dining and bars once again, as the city sees an uptick in cases, particularly among younger age groups.

"I'm not going to take anything off the table," Lightfoot said at a news conference when asked specifically if she was considering rolling back indoor dining, which resumed across Illinois when the state entered phase four of its reopening plan on June 26.

"I don't think we're at that point just yet," she continued. "But I am deeply concerned because we're starting to see this uptick. We're starting to see an uptick in the number of daily cases, deaths are going down, which is great. Most of our hospital indicators are good, but the case rate, the daily accumulation of cases is something I'm definitely concerned about. And we're not going to hesitate to take the steps that are necessary if we continue to see a rise in that number."

Illinois reported 954 new coronavirus cases and 20 additional deaths on Sunday, bringing the statewide totals to 153,916 confirmed cases and 7,187 deaths since the pandemic began.

While the state’s overall positivity rate has continued to fall, the 7-day positivity rate has steadily risen in recent days, now sitting at 3.03 percent. Illinois reported more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus each of the three days preceding Sunday, marking the first time the state has had three straight days of eclipsing that plateau since late May.

Lightfoot noted Monday that the city's numbers are "different" than the rest of the state.

"In Chicago, we continue to be on a good trajectory. However, we do have concerns and we specifically have concerns in the 18-to-29-year-old cohort where we're starting to see an uptick in cases," she said, pleading once again with young people to adhere to public health guidelines.

"I can't emphasize enough why wearing a face cover every single time you leave your house is critically important. Now, that's a challenge with that cohort, because we'll all hearken back to the time when we were that age, we felt like, you know, we were invincible. But this virus doesn't discriminate," she said.

"If you're young, it's still coming for you. And if you're young and you're out there and you're not wearing face coverings, if you're not social distancing, not only are you putting yourself at risk, you're putting at risk every single person that you come into contact with, whether a stranger or a loved one in your home," Lightfoot continued.

Lightfoot added that city officials were "looking at where these folks congregate" and circumstances "that are most at risk," having continuous conversations with bars, restaurants and other places of entertainment.

"COVID-19 is still very much part of our present. And we need to make sure that we are continuing to be diligent," she added.

Both Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker have repeatedly stated that they will not hesitate to move Chicago and the state back a phase in their respective reopening plans if health officials deem it necessary.

Pritzker on Sunday urged residents to continue to wear face coverings as cases rise.

“We remain concerned that cases are rising and positivity rates are inching up,” the governor tweeted. “Now more than ever, we must rely on what the science is telling us. Wearing a face covering is an effective tool in the fight against COVID-19. Join me.”

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