Indoor service to return to Chicago bars; expanded restaurant capacity begins Oct. 1st

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday expanded capacity for restaurants and the reopening of in-door service at bars starting Oct. 1st.

The new measures state bars, breweries and taverns may reopen in-door seating at 25% capacity -- or a maximum of 50 people -- and can serve customers until 1 a.m.

Restaurants, fitness centers and other establishments will have their maximum indoor capacity increased from 25% to 40%.

Maximum group size for fitness classes has also increased from 10 to 15 people.

Lightfoot said the city is prepared to ramp up restrictions again if spread of the virus accelerates, but she said recent trends made her comfortable with the changes for industries hit hard by the pandemic.

“We continue to see new cases every single day,” Lightfoot said. “We continue to see new hospitalizations, every single day. And while the number of deaths that we’re recording every day has gone down substantially from its peak, people are still dying from COVID-19. So we have to remain diligent in our approach to making sure that we do everything that we can to respond to this horrible, horrible virus.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,709 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with 13 additional deaths. Overall, there have been 8,614 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Statewide, 3.7% of the tests performed during the last seven days have been positive. In Chicago, Lightfoot said that figure is at 4.5%.

Click here to see the full reopening guidelines.

Associated Press contributed to this report.