City to Reinstate Targeted COVID-19 Restrictions

Alderman Reilly’s COVID-19 Update: City to Reinstate Targeted COVID-19 Restrictions to Help Combat Recent Rise in Community Cases – Reilly Reports 7/20/2020

Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) announced a re-tightening of COVID-19 restrictions for bars, restaurants, gyms and personal services as a precautionary move in response to a recent increase in community cases of the virus. Throughout the pandemic, data has guided every move made by the City, and the recent uptick in cases as well as surging COVID-19 activity in other states around the country is cause for concern and motivated this move to dial back reopening in certain high-risk environments.

The reinstatement of certain restrictions will go into effect Friday, July 24 at 12:01 a.m., in order to allow businesses time to prepare. Restrictions will include: 

• Bars, taverns, breweries and other establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food license will no longer be able to serve customers indoors.
• Restaurants that serve alcohol will be allowed to continue to operate as long as they abide by ongoing COVID-19 guidance and existing regulations.
• Establishments without food may still provide outdoor service as they did under phase three.
• Maximum party size and table occupancy at restaurants, bars, taverns and breweries will be reduced to six people.
• Indoor fitness class size will be reduced to a maximum of 10 people.
• Personal services requiring the removal of face coverings will no longer be permitted (shaves, facials, etc.).
• Residential property managers will be asked to limit guest entry to five per unit to avoid indoor gatherings and parties.

As CDPH recently announced, the city is back in a high-incidence state under Centers for Disease Control guidelines after topping 200 cases per day on a 7-day rolling average. As of Sunday, July 19, that number was 233. That increase has been driven in part by rising cases among young people 18-29 years old as the city has seen more social activity and interactions in bars, restaurants, parks and the lakefront. Chicago has also seen an increase in its percent positivity rate – the percentage of people tested who are positive for COVID-19 – after weeks of decline.

To prepare all business owners for the new guidance, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will be hosting a series of webinars this week. On July 21, BACP will hold a webinar for all business types to provide an overview of the new changes at 2:00 p.m., followed by a session just for restaurants and bars at 4:00 p.m. Sessions for health and fitness centers and personal services will be held later in the week. To register and learn more, visit

While people are encouraged to create a bubble of not more than 10 people that they have close contact with, they need to do so smartly and avoid “bubble trouble.” If a member of your bubble is not following guidance, they are putting you and others at risk.

This recent uptick in cases locally comes as other parts of the country are seeing a surge in new cases and the country overall is setting new highs for daily COVID-19 cases. Because of this, officials in Chicago decided to act quickly. Earlier this month, Dr. Arwady issued an emergency travel health order requiring travelers from states where cases are surging to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the city, including Chicago residents returning from these states. The updated list of states and information about exemptions to the order can be found here.

Throughout the pandemic, individuals who are infected with COVID-19 or have come into contact with someone who is, have been advised to quarantine. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease before a person knows they are sick, including if a traveler has been infected with the virus but does not have symptoms.

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