Chicago Restaurants May Reopen With Limited Outdoor Seating This June

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced today that Chicago may move into Phase 3 of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s plan to reopen Illinois on Wednesday, June 3.

When Pritzker announced that Illinois would be able to enter Phase 3 on June 1 just a few weeks ago, Lightfoot remained wary that Chicago would not be able to follow the rest of the state in reopening outdoor patio seating at some restaurants. An early June date was promised, but many Chicago restaurants were nervous how far into next month that could be.

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Due to mounting pressure from local establishments who are desperate to remain afloat, Lightfoot decided Chicago could open limited dine-in outdoor seating to the public on June 3. In the same breath, she reminded Chicagoans that this, in no way, signals the end of the crisis and everyone should still practice social distancing.


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Establishments will have staggered opening and closing times, according to the mayor, in an effort to limit contact between people as much as possible. And the warning remains that a surge in cases following the tentative reopening could cause a second shuttering.

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Phase 3 allows gatherings of up to 10 people to take place, as long as everyone is still social distancing and wearing a mask. But it’s impossible to wear a mask while you’re eating, which unearths a series of unique challenges that establishments must now overcome. Determining how to space their patio seating and how their guests will interact with servers, and servers with chefs, and so on, are just a few hurdles to overcome.

Parks and libraries will wait until June 8 to reopen, and it’s unclear if Chicago beaches will join for the summer. Salons and barbershops are reopening in Illinois in June, as well.

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