Chicago restaurants could welcome diners for indoor dining as early as July 1. That’s when the city could enter into the next phase of its pandemic recovery plan, according to Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health. That’s slightly behind the the June 26 target for the state.
Still, Arwady hinted that Chicago could open earlier than July 1 if virus numbers continue to drop. The doctor still urged the public to think about the high-risk people in their lives when making decisions about going out to eat. Other businesses that could reopen under Phase Four of the city’s program include gyms, zoos, and museums.
These businesses could reopen, but with limited capacity. Local restaurant owners who want to reopen for indoor service are still waiting for the city’s safety guidelines as the mayor turned her attention to protests over police brutality and the death of George Floyd in recent weeks. In the meantime, both workers and customers can expect to continue social distancing, thorough hand washing, and using face coverings in dining spaces.
Bar owners are still waiting for word on when taverns could reopen. Many, so far, feel left out of conversations as restaurants have reopened for outdoor dining. The city entered Phase Three in early June, allowing restricted outdoor and open-air dining, and has slowly started introducing its “Make Way For Diners” program, which intends to close six major streets to make room for restaurant tables and chairs. The Chicago Riverwalk reopened Friday but its restaurants, including cider-centric brewpub the Northman, are still working out procedures to serve customers safely.
The city’s coronavirus cases peaked in early May, Arwady said, but have steadily declined in the weeks since. Should there be a resurgence, she and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have said they won’t hesitate to re-implement Phase Two-level restrictions. “As long as things are stable or declining, we’ll move ahead,” Arwady said. “But if we’re seeing signs of trouble, we’ll let people know and ask them to double down.”