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The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced on Saturday, Jan. 23, that Region 10, suburban Cook County, had moved into Tier 1 of the state’s COVID-19 mitigation plan.

The move was long-awaited for many businesses, especially restaurants and bars which were prohibited from serving customers indoors at all during Tier 3 and 2, which the region had been in since Nov. 20. Last week, the state moved temporarily into Tier 2, which allowed the loosening of some restrictions for some business, but restaurants and bars were not included. With medical beds being removed from the metrics by which tiers are decided, Region 10 was quickly able to move down to Tier 1. Under Tier 1, restaurants and bars offering food service can once more serve people indoors, with a limit of 25 percent capacity or 25 persons per room, whichever is less. Seating at tables may not exceed four people indoors. For restrictions to be loosened even farther, the region must move into Phase 4, which requires:
  • COVID-19 positivity rate of less than or equal to 6.5 percent for three consecutive days (on a seven-day rolling average),
  • ICU bed availability of at or greater than 20 percent for three consecutive days (on a seven-day rolling average), and
  • No sustained increase of hospitalized COVID-19 patients for at least seven out of 10 days (on a seven-day rolling average)
In Phase 4, restaurant capacity is determined by arranging seats a minimum of six feet from each other or service areas, with a 10-party limit per table. Bar capacity is determined by arranging seated parties at a minimum of six feet apart. There is a limit of 25 percent of standing area capacity for unseated customers. Note: This article was edited to add that under Tier 1, bars must offer indoor food service in order to reopen.