Restaurants in four more large swathes of Illinois have been directed to re-shut their dining rooms as of tomorrow because of an upsurge in coronavirus infections, extending the renewed suspension of dine-in service to six of the state’s 11 regions.
The ban on indoor service is more pervasive for bars, with drinking places also limited to off-premise and outdoor service in Chicago. The city—by far Illinois’ largest—has not yet rolled back or prohibited dine-in service. But Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker warned that dine-in service may have to be stopped there if infection rates continue to rise and hold at those higher levels for three days. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has repeatedly stressed a similar warning.
Pritzker ordered dining rooms to close in the city’s densely populated western suburbs as of tomorrow. Restaurants in another high-population area, the section of Illinois just to the east of St. Louis, Mo., will also halt indoor service.
Restaurants in the six regions were dine-in service is being suspended can continue to offer takeout and delivery and to provide outdoor table service. Patio dining could be dampened by falling temperatures. Thermometers in Chicago were reading 33 degrees at 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon.
Establishments in those areas will also be required to halt service as of 11 p.m., and outdoor tables must be reserved ahead of time to discourage customers from milling around as they wait for a seat. Only seated customers can be served, and parties must remain at least six feet apart.
The Upper Midwest is raging with new coronavirus infections as children and college students in some areas return to class, groups shift indoors because of cooler weather, and many individuals show what’s been dubbed pandemic fatigue, or a loss of urgency about observing fundamental safety measures such as wearing masks and social distancing.