Restaurants and bars in suburban Cook County can expand indoor service as soon as today, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health, which will formally announce the update Tuesday afternoon.
A “roadmap” released in conjunction with the City of Chicago last week said the region could move to 40 percent capacity, or 50 patrons, after meeting “moderate-risk” thresholds in four COVID-19-related categories: new cases per day (400), positivity rate (6.5%), daily emergency-room visits (80) and occupied ICU beds (300).
According to county data posted Thursday, Feb. 11, Region 10, which covers all of suburban Cook County, meets all the benchmarks and is seeing 272 new cases per day with positivity rate of 4.8 percent — both numbers measured on a seven-day average.
Indoor dining service was not allowed until Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan. Region 10 reached that phase on Feb. 2, but the county further limited capacity to 25 percent at that time.
The announcement today is easing those county-imposed restrictions.
“As one of the most highly regulated industries in terms of health and safety, restaurants are ready and equipped to safely serve more diners indoors,” said Sam Toia, president & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, in last week’s news release.
“ … It is estimated that 20% of restaurants will permanently close as a result of the pandemic. Today’s announcement comes at a critical time and is another step towards recovery. Restaurants need this increase, as well as federal relief, more than ever.”
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