Chicago eases Covid restrictions on slew of venues
Capacity limits relaxed in restaurants, and festivals are back on
Chicago has eased its Phase 4 restrictions on a slew of venues and activities, expanding indoor capacity for restaurants and other businesses, allowing festivals and reopening the United Center.
The changes, which took effect Thursday, come as coronavirus cases tick down and the number of vaccinated residents rises, according to Block Club Chicago. In January, Chicago bars and restaurants opened to indoor dining at 25 percent.
Restaurants can now allow 50 percent capacity indoors or a maximum of 100 people. The United Center and other large indoor venues with seated spectators can allow 25 percent capacity, according to the report. Other large indoor venues without seated spectators will allow 25 percent capacity or a maximum of 250 people.
Outdoor farmers markets and flea markets will have 25 percent capacity or 15 people every 1,000 square feet, and houses of worship can operate at 25 percent, Block Club noted. For private event gatherings, the new rules stipulate that fully vaccinated residents do not count against the capacity limit.
Chicago’s latest move comes as large cities across the country continue to ease restrictions. New York City on Thursday announced that its midnight curfew on bars and restaurants will end on May 17 for outdoor dining and May 31 for indoor dining. Mayor Bill De Blasio also said he hopes to fully reopen by July 1.
Chicago could see further easing in the so-called bridge to Phase 5, if Covid cases remain steady or keep dropping over a two-week period. In that case, restaurant and bar hours would increase, Block Club noted. The final step, Phase 5, would end capacity limits. [BC] — Alexi Friedman