Chicago Restaurant COVID Rules: Is it Safe to Dine Indoors?

Back of House Staff | November 19, 2020, 03:08 PM CST

Chicago Restaurant COVID Rules: Is it Safe to Dine Indoors?

As the coronavirus pandemic comes roaring back, Chicago is one of the many major cities that has begun to reinstate restaurant dining restrictions. We're tracking municipal restaurant regulations in the Windy City to help operators of Chicago's restaurants and bars there make better decisions about their businesses and stay on top of updates from city officials.

>>>RELATED: Check out our state-by-state COVID-19 restaurant policy guide

[Editor's note: Updated 11/19/20]

Is indoor dining allowed in Chicago?

No. As of October 30th, Chicago restaurants must not allow any indoor dining. Governor J.B. Pritzker’s executive order closing indoor dining service, issued October 27, cited increases in both hospitalizations and positivity rates in the city as reasons for the closure.

Despite the ban on indoor dining, some restaurants are choosing to defy the order in fear that another shutdown will result in remaining closed permanently. However, ignoring the order could result in criminal charges.

Is outdoor dining allowed in Chicago?

Yes. Outdoor dining remains permitted in the city, provided the establishment follows both city and state COVID-19 reopening guidelines. As colder weather approaches, restaurants may be tempted to install fully enclosed tents with heat to make diners more comfortable; however, under Illinois guidelines, any tent or structure must have at least two open sides to qualify as an outdoor dining space, according to CBS 2.

Is indoor bar service allowed in Chicago?

No. As of October 25th, bars in Chicago must not allow indoor service. Additionally, all liquor sales must stop at 9 p.m. “You’ve got to look at the places where people are most vulnerable.... where are they not wearing masks? Bars is obviously top of the list from every study that I’ve seen from public health experts,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times on October 22nd.

[Photo: Heather via Pexels]

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