Chicago indoor dining reopens as city, suburban Cook Co. move to Tier 1


CHICAGO (WLS) — From Chicago to Suburban Cook County, many are celebrating the milestone as “a step towards normal” in what has been very irregular instances.

Chicago and Cook County had been moved Tier 1 mitigations on Saturday, state well being officers introduced, giving eating places and bars the all-clear to resume some indoor dining.

WATCH: Gov. Pritzker offers newest on vaccines, restrictions, new variant on Jan. 22, 2021

“We have long pushed for the careful resumption of limited indoor dining, and I am thrilled that we have made enough progress in the fight against COVID-19 to reopen our businesses and bring workers back,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated in an announcement Saturday. “As we enter this next phase, I again call on all businesses and residents to make sure we continue moving forward by following the guidelines for safe indoor dining and committing to the safety precautions that helped us flatten the curve a second time.”

Rick Bayless, Chicago chef and restauranteur stated the reopening will breathe much-needed life to a deflated business.

“I will tell you there were so many people on our staff here that were actually in tears when our first customers came back in,” Bayless stated, who’s the proprietor and chef at Frontera Grill.

His employees has been monitoring regional COVID-19 positivity charges in anticipation of getting clients again indoors.

“When the rumors started swirling around our staff that it was going to be able to happen, there was a spike in everybody’s eyes to be able to know that we’re going to be able to do what we do best once again and that’s an exciting thing for us in the hospitality profession,” stated Casey Cora, Frontera Grill spokesperson.

“We have been busy today. Thank God! It’s a blessing to be back open,” stated Peytyn Willborn, proprietor of Truth Italian Restaurant within the metropolis’s Bronzeville neighborhood.

Back in suburban Cook County, enterprise homeowners rejoiced as they welcomed clients again indoors after the town and suburban Cook County had been formally given the go-ahead to move into Tier 1.

“As soon as I saw that email, it was a breath of fresh air,” stated Chris Manolis, Owner of Blueberry Hill Breakfast Cafe.

However, Peytyn Willborn continues to be cautiously optimistic, figuring out with this pandemic something can change.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed. We don’t want to get too excited because she might shut us back down in a month or two weeks and we’re back to where we started,” stated Willborn, the proprietor of Truth Italian Restaurant within the metropolis’s South Side.

Both Chicago and Cook County eating places and bars are actually in a position to reopen for restricted indoor dining as the COVID-19 check positivity charges in Regions 10 and 11 proceed trending down.

“So we will be able to know tomorrow if they in fact meet their criteria and it’s looking like they will get there. So that announcement will be made tomorrow,” Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike stated.

Under the Tier 1 restrictions, bars and eating places can open for indoor dining at 25% capability or 25 folks max per room. Food should be obtainable always, however might be offered by outdoors distributors for these with out a meals license. Tables should be six toes aside, face coverings required besides when actively consuming or ingesting and institutions should shut by 11 p.m.

“I think that we should be opening everything back up as soon as it’s possible to do so safely and so I’m happy that we’re on that path,” stated Lakeview resident Elan Karoll.

The metropolis can be responding to complaints of egregious violations, however anticipates excellent compliance from bars and eating places.

“And I think this is why you see the progress in the numbers continuing to go down, because for the most part, people are really trying to do their best to keep, not only their customers, but their families and their employees safe,” Chicago Dept. of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Rosa Escareno stated.

Lori Lightfoot issued an announcement Friday that stated: (*1*)

SEE ALSO | Chicago COVID-19: City moves into Phase 1B next week, Arwady says

Tier 1 mitigation measures presently permit the next:

Restaurants and Bars

Can reopen indoors at lesser of 25% or 25 folks per house
Food should be obtainable always so as to provide indoor service. This signifies that bars, taverns or breweries with out a meals license can reopen indoors as lengthy as they accomplice with a meals institution in order that meals is on the market to patrons always (e.g., making menus obtainable and permitting supply, permitting patrons to order from third-party supply companies).
Table dimension restricted to not more than 4 folks per indoor desk and 6 folks per out of doors desk
Face coverings should be worn always, besides when patrons are seated and actively consuming or ingesting.
Patrons should be seated every time they’re consuming or ingesting
Tables should be six toes aside
Indoor service restricted to not more than two hours
All bars and eating places should shut at 11 p.m.

Meetings, Social Events and Gatherings

Events can be restricted to lesser 25 visitors or 25% of general room capability each indoors and outdoor
Indoor occasions can be in a position to serve meals or drinks, however indoor service tips should be adopted:
o Face coverings should be worn always, besides when patrons are seated and actively consuming or ingesting
o Four folks per indoor desk
o Patrons should be seated every time they’re consuming or ingesting
o Tables should be six toes aside
o Indoor occasions should finish at 11 p.m.
Household gatherings restricted to not more than ten folks

Other Industries

Most different industries restricted to 40% capability with 50 folks max inside a room or house
Indoor health lessons can broaden to the lesser of 15 folks or 40% capability
Face coverings worn always, except restricted cases such as for private companies that require their elimination

“We’re just adding classes exponentially to accommodate the demand, but it’s an exciting time. It brings a tremendous amount of energy back into the locations,” stated Gale Landers, founder and CEO of Fitness Formula Clubs.

WATCH: Indoor dining returns in Will, Kankakee counties

State well being officers introduced that Illinois Region 7 – Kankakee and Will counties – had moved into Tier 1 mitigation Thursday, permitting indoor restaurant and bar dining service for up to 25 folks or 25% capability per room, whichever is fewer folks.

Some eating places, together with George’s in Lockport, have been serving clients inside even whereas it was formally banned by the state. But the staff there’s nonetheless excited by the information and hope it can make extra clients really feel protected sufficient to drop in for a chew. Manager Lauren Straub stated she was elated to be taught that restricted indoor dining can resume in Will and Kankakee counties.

“People are gonna feel comfortable and, you know, want to come in and they feel safe enough to come in and dine with us,” Straub stated.

In close by Romeoville, Gio’s breakfast was nonetheless principally empty after the indoor dining reboot announcement. But supervisor Giselle Evangelista is considering her dining room can be a gorgeous choice for folks hoping to maintain their social distance.

“It’s really really big,” Evangelista stated. “I feel like people are gonna see that on our Facebook page.”

And with extra in-person dining, she’s hoping her employees will see extra ideas – which have not been as plentiful with take-out orders.

“Since our servers rely on tips, that will help us out a lot more because that’s basically what we live off,” she stated.

WATCH: Why some eating places will not reopen even when restrictions loosen

Even when restrictions are lifted within the metropolis, some eating places nonetheless will not be reopening for now.

“25% (capacity) makes us lose money, 50% (capacity) makes us lose money,” stated Jodi Fyfe, proprietor of Eden within the West Loop.

But for Chicago eating places that need to reopen indoor dining, metropolis officers say that could be potential as quickly as this weekend if the present developments maintain.

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