Chesterton Tribune



Chicago loosening more virus limits

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago has again loosened restrictions created during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing bars, breweries and other businesses to resume outdoor service starting Wednesday.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also announced Monday that people can get back to the city’s popular lakefront path starting June 22.

But nearby parks and beaches will remain closed, and city officials said patrons must follow the “keep it moving” motto by using the trail for exercise or personal travel, which includes walking, biking, running or rollerblading.

Lightfoot shut down the lakefront and nearby parks in late March after residents crowded the area on an unseasonably warm day. Lightfoot said then that it was too difficult to keep distance from others and for months she resisted calls to reopen the well-loved amenity.

The Chicago Park District plans to install signs and station staff to act as “social distancing ambassadors” along the trail, reminding people to stay away from others.

Owners of bars, breweries and other businesses that don’t serve food with drinks were unhappy when the city opted to let restaurants resume outdoor service early this month, arguing the disparity was unfair.

The city’s loosened rules will let businesses with outdoor patios, rooftops or rooms with retractable roofs and large window or door openings to welcome customers.

Bars will have to follow the same regulations including keeping tables 6 feet apart, capping the number of people at each table and limiting customers’ stay to two hours.

Previous city guidance for restaurants said patrons should only remove face coverings or masks when seated at their table.

Chicago has reported 49,603 cases of the coronavirus and 2,399 deaths since the pandemic began.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems.

Health officials have said recent trends are still headed downward but warn that more progress depends on people following guidelines, including wearing face coverings outside the house.

“We’re all excited to start the process of reopening our city but we need to do this cautiously and continue to follow all the guidance,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Department of Public Health.



Posted 6/16/2020




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