Chicago Issues Business Curfew as Cases, Hospitalizations Surge

Chicago will implement a night-time curfew for non-essential businesses starting on Friday for at least two weeks to try to stop the rapid rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Thursday.

A curfew will be in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for all non-essential businesses, and bars without a license to sell food will no longer be able to serve customers indoors, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. All Chicagoans also are being asked to avoid social gatherings of more than six people and end them by 10 p.m. amid the city’s “second surge.”

“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,” Lightfoot said in the statement. “Now, we all must double-down on our commitment to our health and the health of our city in order to bend the curve and shape our future back to where it needs to be.”

The restrictions come as Chicago sees a rapid rise in cases across all demographics, zip codes and age groups, Lightfoot said Thursday. Over the past week, cases have climbed by 54% to more than 640 per day, and the positivity rate has also jumped to 6.4%, according to the city. Hospitalizations for covid-patients not in the intensive care unit and suspected cases are up 45% since Sept. 22, the city said.

The Chicago region will face more restrictions if the positivity rate rises above 8% for three straight days under state guidelines. Other parts of Illinois, including counties surrounding Chicago, are already under tighter restrictions.

Businesses deemed essential such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations may remain open during the business curfew hours. Restaurants can operate for take-out or delivery. Last call for establishments serving alcohol must be at 9 p.m.

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