Another indoor dining ban is creeping closer to Chicago, as restaurants in suburban Cook County will have to stop serving on-premise customers starting on Wednesday. State lawmakers made the announcement Monday morning via a news release, citing increased hospitalizations and positivity rates in the region.
The area’s seven-day rolling rate has surpassed 8 percent for three consecutive days. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said last week said if the city hits 8 percent that they’d suspend indoor service in Chicago.
But, for now, the city is focused on its budget hearings and there’s no word of an impending announcement. On Monday afternoon, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the city’s rate was at 7.7 percent. Indoor service would likely be suspended after three-straight days of 8 percent or more.
The state’s newest rules affect towns like Schaumburg, Palatine, Oak Lawn, and Orland Park. Last week, Pritzker announced indoor dining bans for bars and restaurants in four counties, including DuPage. Chicago waited until later in the week to follow suit with bars.
The rising number of hospital admissions played a larger role in suburban Cook County, according to the state. Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, who has ran for office as a Republican, sent a newsletter to his constituents Monday morning ripping Pritzker — a Democrat — and his staff. He writes that hospitalizations have been flat: “the capacity issues are very common for this time of year and blaming them on COVID is disingenuous and deceitful.”
Pekau adds: “Now [Prtizker] has indicated he will send the state police into businesses that do not close as he demands. I guess looting and rioting was OK, but small businesses trying to keep their businesses from permanently closing is not.”
Elsewhere in Cook County, James Beard Award-winning chef Sarah Stegner says she’s going to start meal kits as the state ban will close the dining room at Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook.
The state is also advising the public to get flu vaccines to help alleviate pressure on an overburdened health system. The ban will affect restaurants around O’Hare International Airport, including restaurants in Rosemont, Elk Grove Village, and Des Plaines.
The new restrictions, which go into effect Wednesday, mean bars and restaurants have to suspend indoor service and close outdoor service starting at 11 p.m. Customers can’t hang out inside while waiting to be seated. Bars need to remove stools to discourage people from congregating. The state, in a move that harkens back to the ‘80s classic Footloose, also specifically calls out “no dancing or standing indoors.”
Reservations are also mandatory for bars and restaurants. Also, multiple parties won’t be allowed to be seated together.
Indoor dining is still permitted in Chicago for restaurants, at a 40-percent maximum capacity. Restaurants must close at 10 p.m. An indoor service ban on bars without food service went to effect on Friday. Carryout and delivery can continue as usual.
On Monday, a restaurant in Geneva filed a lawsuit against the state to challenge the dining room ban enacted last week.
- State Public Health Officials Announce COVID-19 Resurgence Mitigations to Take Effect in Regions 4 and 10 on October 28, 2020 [State of Illinois]
- Illinois to Halt Indoor Restaurant Service in Western and Southern Suburbs [ECHI]
- Chicago Will Ban Indoor Bar Service to Combat Second Wave of COVID-19 [ECHI]
- Illinois Restaurant Sues Over COVID-19 Indoor Service Ban [ECHI]