Current Business Guidelines from Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) (3.25.2021)

After three months of consistent decline or stability in our COVID-19 health metrics, the City has seen a worrying rise in all metrics over the last few weeks. Positivity rates and total cases have increased significantly and, most alarmingly, Emergency Department visits for COVID-like illness have increased by 38% in the last week alone.


Due to this alarming increase in health metrics, the City of Chicago announced updates to the COVID-19 regulations that keep most indoor limits in place while allowing for cautious increases in outdoor spaces that are less conducive to virus spread. The following outdoor capacity changes will take effect immediately (note that most indoor regulations will remain in place - see the end of this email for the full regulations):

  • Bars and Restaurants: Maximum outdoor table size can increase to ten people, with tables set up so that patrons are six feet from patrons at other tables. Indoor table size remains limited to no more than six people.

  • Social Events (e.g. weddings, potlucks and other community events): Total outdoor capacity can increase to the lesser of 50% or 100 people

  • Performance Venues, Theaters, and Seated Spectator Events: Outdoor venues with capacity greater than or equal to 200 can operate at 25% capacity. Smaller venues can operate at no more than 50% capacity or 50 people.

  • Outdoor Recreation: Maximum groups of 50; multiple groups permitted

  • Places of Worship: No outdoor capacity limit provided that six feet of social distancing is maintained between parties

  • Health and Fitness Centers: Outdoor classes can increase to 100 people

In each setting, six feet of physical distance must be maintained between different parties, meaning that facilities may need to operate at a lower capacity to achieve six feet between all parties. Additionally, in order to ensure proper enforcement and safety across industries, all patrons will continue to count towards capacity limits, even if they are fully vaccinated or have a recent negative test.

Please see below for a full update on these COVID-19 regulations, and visit Chicago.gov/reopening for the latest information. Please note that there have been two changes to indoor regulations in order to ensure consistency and safety: seating at the bar/counter at restaurants or bars is now limited to four per party, with six feet between parties, and indoor fitness classes can increase to 50 people, provided that the total room capacity remains under the 50% limit and six feet of distancing is maintained between patrons, with face coverings worn at all times. Additionally, as a reminder, social distancing regulations at bars, restaurants, and events have been updated: tables must now be spaced so that patrons are six feet away from patrons at other tables.


In order to help businesses navigate these new guidelines, BACP will hold a webinar on Monday, March 29 at 3:30pm. Register and learn more at chicago.gov/businesseducation.


COVID-19 Regulations as of March 18, 2021:


Restaurants and Bars

  • Can operate indoors at the lesser of 50% or 50 people per space

  • Larger establishments that can fit more than 50 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 50 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 four 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.

Social Events (e.g. weddings, potlucks and other community events)

  • 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.

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

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

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times

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

  • 50% indoor capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space

  • Outdoor capacity for venues with capacity < 200: 50% capacity with no more than 50 people

  • Outdoor capacity for venues with capacity ≥ 200: 25% capacity

  • 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.

Museums

  • 25% capacity indoors or outdoors

  • Guided tours limited to 50 people

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times

Zoos

  • 25% capacity outdoors

  • 50% capacity with no more than 50 people for indoor exhibits

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times

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

Places of Worship

  • 50% capacity indoors, with no more than 50 people in any one space

  • No capacity limit outdoors, with six feet of social distancing between parties

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times