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NBDC update: Chicago Tightening Restrictions in Response to Second Wave of COVID-19

October 22, 2020


Dear Chicagoan,

Today, I joined Mayor Lightfoot and the Public Health Commissioner to announce the reinstatement of targeted business restrictions to combat the recent and alarming rise of COVID-19 cases. Effective tomorrow, Friday, October 23 at 6:00 a.m., the following regulations will come into effect:

·        All non-essential businesses must be closed to the public between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. This includes bars, restaurants, health and fitness centers, event venues, personal services, non-essential retail and most establishments that were deemed non-essential during the Stay at Home Order earlier this year. Essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and hardware stores, are exempt. Additionally, restaurants may remain open for take-out or delivery of food.

·        Bars, taverns, breweries and other establishments that sell alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food Establishment License must close for indoor service. Outdoor service may continue, including rooms with retractable roofs and tables that are within eight feet of walls that are at least 50% open.

·        All liquor sales for on-site and off-site consumption must cease at 9:00 p.m. This applies to all establishments that sell alcohol, including those with a Package Goods, Tavern or Consumption on Premises-Incidental Activity License. The delivery and pick-up of alcohol must cease at 9:00 p.m. as well.

For more information, please read the latest Health Order, which includes a comprehensive list of the businesses that are considered essential. Please note that transportation, including taxis and ride-hail services, are considered essential.

Please be aware that BACP will continue enforcing the new regulations listed above along with the existing regulations. As a reminder:

·        Indoor capacity at most businesses is limited to 40%, with a total of 50 patrons within a room or space at restaurants, event venues, performance venues and other establishments.

·        No more than six people per table at a bar, restaurant, performance venue or event venue.

·        Face coverings must be worn at all times by customers and employees, and can be removed by customers only in limited circumstances (i.e. when actively eating/drinking, during personal services that require their removal)

·        Class size at health and fitness centers and after-school programming limited to 15 people, while adhering to the 40% capacity limit.

The full guidelines can be found at To help businesses understand the new guidelines, we will be holding a webinar Friday, October 23 at 2:00 p.m. To register and learn more, visit

The second surge of COVID-19 is here, and these new restrictions are necessary to combat the alarming rise in cases and hospitalizations. Over the past week alone, cases have risen by 54%, to over 640 per day. This is coinciding with a worrying increase in hospitalizations, which for non-ICU COVID patients and suspected cases are up 45% since September 22. In addition to the new business restrictions, the City is calling on all residents to avoid social gatherings over six people and end all social gatherings at 10:00 p.m. These restrictions, which are targeted at locations that most easily contribute to spread, will help save lives while also hopefully preventing further restrictions - if our positivity rate continues to climb we will soon be subject to much stricter regulations from the State of Illinois, including reduced capacity for all businesses and the closure of indoor dining. 

That said, we understand the pain this is causing to our business community and will continue to work to support businesses throughout this ongoing crisis. Today, the City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection voted to approve an ordinance that would further extend the expiration date of licenses impacted by COVID-19. Under the new legislation, all licenses that were set to expire between March 15 and December 31, 2020 will be considered active until January 30, 2021. We anticipate this becoming law at the next City Council meeting on November 16 and will not be enforcing late fees or renewal requirements on businesses that would be impacted by this ordinance prior to its formal passage by the full City Council next month.

Next, I want to remind everyone of available funding opportunities for businesses during this challenging time:

·        The Illinois Business Interruption Grant Program (BIG) continues to accept applications, with funds allotted specifically for heavily impacted industries, priority businesses and disproportionately impacted areas. Learn more at

·        Applications for the Performing Arts Venue Relief Program will close Friday, October 23 at 5:00 p.m. central time. This program that will provide $10,000 grants to up to 120 for-profit and nonprofit Chicago-based performing arts venues that have lost significant revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will be distributed via a lottery system to qualified recipients.

·        Chicago area restaurants are able to apply to receive a $5,000 grant to defray winterization expenses such as the cost of heating equipment, additional safety materials to improve indoor dining, upgrades for air filtration systems, bulk orders of blankets for patrons, and more through DoorDash’s Main Street Strong initiative. Learn more and apply here

I also want to remind everyone that the City has partnered with Tock to offer a free set-up and six-month subscription to Tock Plus Lite for restaurants and bars without a reservation system in areas of the city below 60% of the Area Median Income. For more information, please visit:

Thanks again to all of you for your ongoing efforts to keep our community safe. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.


Rosa Escareno

BACP Commissioner

Keywords: BACP, City of Chicago, COVID-19, Department of Public Health

Posted in Business, Housing, Economic Development, Community Highlights, All news


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