City Announces Updated Phase Four COVID Regulations and Chicago Bridge Phase

On Thursday, April 29, 2021, following two weeks of stable or declining COVID-19 reopening metrics, the City of Chicago announced a loosening of COVID-19 capacity regulations under the Phase Four Guidelines. Effective immediately, Phase Four capacity restrictions have been eased across a number of industries – the full details can be found below and in this capacity overview document.  

The City of Chicago also announced plans for the Chicago Bridge Phase. If Chicago’s reopening metrics remain stable or decreasing over the next two weeks, and we meet the statewide criteria, then we will enter the Chicago Bridge Phase. This will lead to a broad loosening of restrictions across industries – the details of the Chicago Bridge Phase can be found here. Please continue to adhere closely to the Phase Four Regulations to ensure that we can safely move forward in our reopening plan. We hope to share information about Chicago’s progress towards reaching the Bridge Phase over the coming weeks.

Additionally, effective immediately, guests that are fully vaccinated – defined as 14 days after receiving their final vaccine dose – will not count towards capacity limits at private events such as weddings. Events must be at a licensed business, they cannot be open to the public, and guests must RSVP prior to the event. Event organizers will be responsible for verifying that exempted guests are fully vaccinated and keep records. Full details about this exemption can be found in the Event Venues Guidelines. The City will consider expanding this exemption to other industries in the coming weeks, provided that our COVID-19 metrics continue to improve.

In order to help businesses navigate the new Phase Four Regulations and the Chicago Bridge Phase, the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection will be holding two webinars:

  • Friday, April 30 at 2:00 pm
  • Monday, May 3 at 2:00 pm

To register and learn more, visit Chicago.gov/businesseducation. For the full reopening guidelines, visit Chicago.gov/reopening

Chicago’s Phase Four COVID-19 Regulations – as of 4/29/21

Restaurants and Bars

  • Can operate indoors at the lesser of 50% or 100 people per space
  • Larger establishments that can fit more than 100 people within an indoor room at 50% capacity can use impermeable barriers such as plexiglass in order to divide rooms into multiple spaces. Provided that these spaces are fully divided by impermeable barriers, and that other regulations are followed, establishments may have the lesser of 50% capacity or 100 people within each indoor space. 
  • Food must be available at all times in order to offer indoor service. Bars, taverns or breweries without a food license can operate indoors as long as they ensure that food is always available. This can be done by making menus available and allowing delivery or allowing patrons to order from third-party delivery services.
  • Table size limited to no more than six people indoors and ten people outdoors
  • Outdoor service includes:
  • Rooms with retractable roofs
  • Rooftops
  • Multi-party structures, such as tents, with at least 50% of walls open
  • Single-party structures, such as igloos, with proper ventilation
  • Tables within eight feet of a wall that is at least 50% open
  • Tables must be spaced so that patrons are six feet away from patrons at other tables
  • Seating at bars/counters allowed with six feet between parties and party size of six or fewer
  • Patrons must be seated at all times while eating or drinking
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when seated and actively eating or drinking
  • Establishments must close for on-site service at 1:00 a.m. They may serve alcohol until that time provided that patrons are fully off-site by 1:00 a.m.
  • Complete regulations for Food Service and Bars

Social Events (e.g. weddings)

  • Indoor events limited to lesser of 50% capacity or 50 people per space
  • Outdoor events limited to lesser of 50% capacity or 100 people per space
  • All Food Service and Bars regulations must be followed, including:
  • Table size limited to no more than six people indoors and ten people outdoors
  • Patrons must be seated whenever eating or drinking
  • Tables must be spaced so that patrons are six feet away from patrons at other tables
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when seated and actively eating or drinking
  • Close all dance floors and other places where social distancing is not possible.
  • Fully vaccinated guests do not count towards COVID capacity limits at private social events. The following criteria must be met:
  • Guests must be at least 14 days removed from their final vaccine dose
  • Guests must RSVP prior to the event
  • Events cannot be open to the public
  • Events must take place at a licensed business
  • Events must take place at a designated event venue (i.e. a restaurant cannot rent out their regular restaurant space for an event)
  • Event organizers are responsible for ensuring that exempted guests are vaccinated and must keep records that include first name, last name, date of final vaccination dose and an attestation that the individual is fully vaccinated
  • The guidelines for exempting vaccinated individuals are subject to change
  • Complete regulations for Event Venues

Health and Fitness Centers

  • 50% indoor capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space and six feet of social distancing between patrons
  • Indoor group classes of 50 or fewer can resume under the 50% capacity restriction, with six feet between patrons
  • Outdoor classes limited to no more than 100 people, with six feet of social distancing between patrons
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times indoors. They can be removed for outdoor activities provided that six feet of social distancing is maintained between patrons.
  • Locker rooms and showers can remain open if strict and frequent cleaning measures are in place
  • Close ancillary accommodations, including saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms, where social distancing is not possible
  • Complete regulations for Health and Fitness Centers

Recreation

  • 50% indoor capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space
  • Outdoor recreation allowed with group size limited to no more than 50 people; multiple groups permitted
  • Six feet of social distancing between parties
  • Food Service and Bar regulations must be followed if food/drink is being served
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times
  • Complete regulations for Indoor Recreation and Outdoor Recreation

Movie Theaters, Performance Venues and Spectator Events (seated and ticketed)

  • Small venues with capacity < 200: 50% capacity indoors or outdoors with no more than 50 people
  • Large venues with capacity ≥ 200: 25% capacity indoors or outdoors
  • Six feet of social distancing between parties
  • Food Service and Bar regulations must be followed if food/drink is being served
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times except when patrons are seated and actively eating or drinking
  • Complete regulations for Movie Theaters, Performance Venues and Seated Spectator Events

Retail Stores

  • 50% capacity
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times
  • Alcohol sales from establishments with a Package Goods license must end at 11:00 p.m.
  • Complete regulations for Retail Stores

Museums

  • 25% capacity indoors or outdoors
  • Guided tours limited to 50 people
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times
  • Complete regulations for Museums

Zoos

  • 25% capacity outdoors
  • 50% capacity with no more than 50 people for indoor exhibits
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times
  • Complete regulations for Zoos

Personal Services

  • 50% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space
  • Face coverings can be removed only for services that require their removal
  • Complete regulations for Personal Services

Places of Worship

  • Small venues with capacity < 200: 50% capacity indoors with no more than 50 people
  • Large venues with capacity ≥ 200: 25% capacity indoors
  • No capacity limit outdoors, with six feet of social distancing between parties
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times
  • Complete regulations for Places of Worship

Meetings, Conferences and Conventions

  • Small venues with capacity < 200: 50% capacity with no more than 50 people
  • Large venues with capacity ≥ 200: 25% capacity with no more than 250 people
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times
  • Complete regulations for Meetings, Conferences and Conventions

Festivals and General Admission Outdoor Events

Flea and Farmers Markets


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