Chicago announces tighter coronavirus restrictions

TheHill reports Chicago announced Monday it will tighten coronavirus restrictions, including for bars, restaurants, gyms and personal services, as it experiences a rise in COVID-19 cases.

The city’s reinstitution of restrictions, which will go into effect Friday at 12:01 a.m., comes as Chicago has seen a boost in its seven-day average of new cases, reaching above 200 per day.

“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,” said a press release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) and Chicago’s health department and Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

The restrictions will ban indoor service at bars and other businesses that sell alcohol, but outdoor service will still be permitted. Restaurants will be allowed to serve indoors with a maximum table size of six people.

Indoor fitness classes will not be allowed for more than 10 people, and personal services that require a person to take off a face covering, like shaves and facials, will be restricted. Residential property managers are instructed to only allow five guests per unit to prevent indoor gatherings.

“We have made so much progress here in Chicago in containing the spread of the virus, protecting our health system and saving lives, and in general, the virus remains under control locally. But we are again seeing a steady increase in new cases,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “While we aren’t near the peak of the pandemic from earlier this year, none of us wants to go back there, and we feel these restrictions will help limit further community spread.”

On Sunday, Chicago’s seven-day average of new cases per day reached 233. The city attributes the increase in cases “in part” to a rise in cases among people aged 18 to 29 who gather in bars, restaurants, parks and on the lakefront.