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Illinois re-shuts Chicago's restaurant dining rooms

With the suspension of dine-in service, much of the state is now limited to takeout and delivery again.
Photo courtesy of Girl & the Goat (Boka Restaurant Group)

Restaurants in Chicago will be required to suspend dine-in service as of midnight Friday, under a directive issued Tuesday by Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker to counter a spike in new COVID-19 cases.

With the addition of Illinois’ biggest city to the list of areas that Pritzker has designated as coronavirus hotspots requiring mitigation, restaurants in much of the state are now prohibited from providing dine-in service. Suburban Cook County, the densely populated area just west of Chicago, and the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis, Mo., were directed Monday to discontinue service.

Indoor bar service has also been discontinued  nearly statewide.

Eating places can continue to offer takeout and delivery, but winter is settling into the Upper Midwest. Monday brought snow to some parts of Illinois.

Chicago restaurants have been permitted to use up to 50% of their indoor seating capacities. A shutdown was expected because of the surge in coronavirus infections. The city reported just under 800 new cases of COVID, and the statewide tally hit 4,000. Nationwide, the instances of infection have increased 26%, according to health authorities.

Illinois authorities have set benchmarks to determine when facilities can open and at what capacities, and when they should be closed for public health reasons. Chicago’s restaurants will remain closed until the gauge of new infections falls below the safety threshold set by Pritzker.

Chicago was one of the last major U.S. cities to permit the reopening of restaurant dining rooms. New York and San Francisco were not given the green light until Sept. 30, with capacities capped at 25% after that date. San Francisco eateries were just recently permitted to double their interior  capacities. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had promised to issue a decision on Nov. 1 about whether New York City can increase indoor seating to 50% of pre-pandemic levels.

Indoor dining has yet to resume in Los Angeles.

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