Updated COVID-19 Regulations for Chicago Businesses – March 2021

Today, the City of Chicago announced the further easing of COVID-19 regulations for businesses. We’ve got updated guidelines for Chicago small businesses preparing to reopen or expand operations. The Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protections will hold a webinar this Thursday, March 4, at 10:00 a.m. on the new regulations. Register and learn more at chicago.gov/businesseducation.

Due to sustained progress in all four reopening metrics, effective immediately:

  • Indoor capacity at bars, restaurants and other businesses can increase to the lesser of 50% or 50 people per space
  • Bars, restaurants and events can stay open for on-site service and serve alcohol until 1:00 am.
  • Alcohol sales from liquor stores and other establishments with a Package Goods license can now continue until 11:00 p.m.
  • Indoor fitness class size can increase to 20 people

As part of the established roadmap for a cautious and careful reopening, other regulations will remain in place for the time being. Please see below for an overview of the current regulations.

This increase is due to the significant progress that Chicago continues to make in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the framework released in early February, the Chicago Department of Public Health established four critical metrics that determine Chicago’s ability to move forward in the reopening plan. Today’s announcement is possible because Chicago has reached at least the “Moderate-Risk” level in all four of these metrics, and sustained that level for two weeks: 

  • COVID cases diagnosed per day: currently averaging 283, in the “Moderate-Risk” level.  
  • COVID test positivity: currently averaging 2.9%, in the “Lower-Risk” level 
  • Emergency Departments visits for COVID-like illness: currently averaging 42 per day, in the “Lower-Risk” level 
  • ICU beds occupied by COVID patients: currently averaging 103, in the “Moderate-Risk” level 
A screenshot of the City's COVID-19 Dashboard
A screenshot of the City’s COVID-19 Dashboard. Click to see the real thing!

While Chicago continues to make significant progress in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the City reminds all Chicagoans that we remain in the midst of a pandemic and calls on everyone to take the safety precautions that helped us flatten the curve a second time. Regulations requiring face coverings and social distancing remain in place at all businesses, and indoor residential gatherings remain limited to no more than ten individuals. The full Reopening Matrix can be found here.

You can track the City’s progress on the reopening metrics at chi.gov/coviddash, and updated COVID-19 regulations can be found at chicago.gov/reopening

COVID-19 Regulations as of 3/2/2021

Restaurants, Bars and Events

  • Can operate indoors at lesser of 50% or 50 people per space
  • Larger establishments that can fit more than 50 people within a 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 tables are six feet apart with no more than six people per table, establishments may have the lesser of 50% capacity or 50 people within each space. 
  • Food must be available at all times in order to offer indoor service
  • Bars, taverns or breweries without a food license can reopen 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 outdoors with tables spaced six feet apart.
  • Bar seating allowed with six feet between parties
  • 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
  • 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
  • Indoor events allowed at 50% capacity with no more than 50 individuals. Events must follow indoor dining guidelines
  • 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.

Health and Fitness Centers

  • 50% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space
  • Group classes of 20 or fewer can resume under the 50% capacity restriction, with six feet 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
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times

Indoor Recreation

  • 50% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times

Movie Theaters and Performance Venues

  • 50% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times

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.

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

Museums and Zoos

  • 25% capacity
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times

Places of Worship

  • 50% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times
  • Special events capped at no more than 50% capacity or 50 people, while following indoor dining regulations

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Hub

The Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce (GRCC) has created a Coronavirus resource hub to keep you connected to important information and resources regarding your health, current reopening phases, and ways to support neighborhood businesses and neighbors. Visit the COVID-19 Resource Hub.

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Associate Director, Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce | View Bio

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