Chicago’s Covid-19 Uptick Spurs First New Limits Since Reopening

Chicago is reinstating restrictions “in certain high-risk environments” for the first time since reopening its economy last month to prevent an uptick in Covid-19 cases from turning into a resurgence.

The city will enact certain restrictions for bars, restaurants, gyms and personal services on July 24, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday. The “precautionary” moves come in response to surging COVID-19 in other U.S. states and Chicago’s return to a “high-incidence” level, with new cases topping 200 per day on a 7-day rolling average, according to the statement. The rise has been driven in part by 18-year-olds to 29-year-olds, and social interactions in bars, restaurants, parks and the lakefront, city officials said.

Establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption without food licenses won’t be able serve indoors but may offer outdoor service. Maximum party size and table occupancy at restaurants, bars, taverns and breweries has been cut to six people, and indoor fitness classes are limited to 10, according to an emailed statement from the city. Personal services that require removing face coverings will not be permitted.

The revived restrictions are intended to help put the city back on a downward trajectory after Chicago has seen an increase in its percent positivity rate to above 5% after weeks of decline, Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner, told reporters on Monday. She said moving above 400 cases per day could lead to further measures.

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