Lightfoot says Chicago bars, restaurants unlikely to reopen next week
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday that it is unlikely that city bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen next week.
Her announcement comes a day after Gov. JB Pritzker said that all regions of the state are on track to enter phase three of his reopening plan by May 29. The amended plan will allow bars and restaurants to allow outdoor services as long as tables are kept six feet apart and other safety precautions are taken.
Speaking at an unrelated press conference, Lightfoot said she needed to see more to ensure that residents would be safe and protected if such businesses were to reopen.
“I need to understand and be certain that restaurants across the city, not just the big ones, not just the ones that have a lot of cash flow, but the small ones… have the means to protect their employees and members of the public that will patronize them,” she said.
Lightfoot said those businesses may reopen by June. She said her administration is working on plans to close streets and sidewalks to allow restaurants to set up outdoor seating. Other complications include how outdoor seating may affect CTA bus routes and weather-related contingencies.
“We’re close, but we’re not there yet,” she said.
Pritzker said during his Thursday press conference that Lightfoot has the right to make that decision, reiterating that local municipalities have the right to enforce tighter restrictions than the state in their COVID-19 response.
“We’ve tried to provide a baseline to protect people in various communities in different cities and counties and they can do something that’s more stringent and decide not to allow certain activities,” Pritzker said.
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