Lightfoot sets curfew for non-essential businesses, eliminates indoor bar service

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday a new curfew will be put in place for non-essential businesses beginning Friday and the elimination of indoor bar service as COVID-19 cases surge in the second wave.

The curfew will take place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and will not affect essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and food delivery.

“We are — no doubt whatsoever — in a second surge,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “This is what it looks like.”

Lightfoot also announced that bars without food licenses must stop serving customers indoors and liquor sales citywide must end at 9 p.m. The curfew doesn’t apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and other essential businesses.

The number of statewide cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, set another single-day record Thursday, with 4,942, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. There were 44 additional deaths, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 9,387, among 360,159 confirmed infections.

Lightfoot warned earlier this week that rising numbers of new confirmed cases could lead to reinstated restrictions on the city’s economy. As of Thursday, Lightfoot said the city was reporting an average of 645 new cases during the past seven days.

The adjusted guidelines will be in effect for at least two weeks.

“The rapid rise we’re experiencing in COVID-19 cases across all demographics, zip codes and age groups is consistent with what public health experts and responsible leaders have been predicting for months,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “This moment is a critical inflection point for Chicago, and these new restrictions and guidelines represent our ongoing effort to stay ahead of this pandemic through the data and science of this disease." 

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Illinois health officials on Thursday reported nearly 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 44 additional deaths. The seven-day testing positivity rate is up to 5.7%, health officials said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Illinois has recorded 360,159 cases and 9,387 deaths tied to COVID-19.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the city’s Department of Public Health, warned that the rate of growth of confirmed cases in recent days compares to what the city saw in March and April. Chicago and the rest of Illinois were under a statewide stay-at-home order for about two months beginning in mid-March.

“If we need to take further steps ... even going back to shelter in place, I’m not going to hesitate to do that,” Lightfoot said. “I hope that won’t be necessary, but it’s all in your hands.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.