CHICAGO — The city’s bars and breweries can reopen Wednesday.
Bars and similar establishments will be able to open, though only for outdoor service, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday. They’ve been closed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bars that do reopen will have to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the city said: Tables for customers must be 6 feet apart, and there can only be six people at most per table. Indoor service will not be allowed, and customers will only be able to stay for two hours.
Alcohol sales for on-site drinking must end at 11 p.m. — though carryout and delivery sales must end even earlier, at 9 p.m., the city said.
The city is also encouraging bars and other drinking establishments to partner with restaurants, food trucks and other eateries to provide food to customers.
As we continue to cautiously reopen our businesses, it is critical that we keep the health and safety of our residents as our top priority,” Rosa Escareno, head of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, said in the press release. “We are excited to begin reopening Chicago’s bars, taverns and breweries and we look forward to continuing our efforts to support and educate all of Chicago’s businesses.”
“Outdoor” areas include patios, rooftops and rooms with retractable roofs. Bars with windows or panels that take up 50 percent or more of a wall and can be opened can sit people inside within 8 foot of that opening, as well.
Bars can get an Expanded Outdoor Dining Permit so they can try to seat people outside in private property, like parking lots, the city said. They’re also allowed to take part in the Our Streets program, which allows restaurants and bars to expand into closed streets.
The decision to allow bars to reopen comes as the city is seeing a declining number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19, officials said.
But the city’s also faced criticism for allowing restaurants to reopen June 3 while bars and breweries were forced to stay shut.
Read all of Block Club’s coverage on outdoor dining here.
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