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Feature

Sandy Noto
January 23, 2021
Chicago Restaurants Can Reopen For Indoor Dining (Again). Here’s What To Expect
What we know so far.
Written by

As of January 23rd, all Chicago restaurants are allowed to reopen for indoor dining under Tier 1 resurgence mitigation. You can feel free to read the government’s PowerPoint presentation on what those protocols are here . But we’re going to unpack the most important info below to better understand what eating at a restaurant will look like for right now.

What We Know So Far:

How crowded will restaurants be?

Not very. They’ll be restricted to 25% capacity, with a maximum of 25 people per floor. And to keep social distancing guidelines, the tables have to be at least six feet apart.

How many people are allowed per table?

Parties of four are the maximum size allowed, and people should ideally be members of the same household.

Are bars also allowed to reopen?

Only bars that serve food are allowed to open for indoor dining (or drinking) under Tier 1 restrictions. So as long as your favorite bar serves, say, nachos, you’re in luck.

How long can I stay?

No longer than two hours. Also, reservations are required.

Do I have to wear a mask?

Yes. Customers must wear masks at all times unless eating. That means when talking to the server, getting up to use the bathroom, or admiring a cute dog that wandered in the restaurant.

Does the restaurant staff have to wear masks?

Yes. Every single restaurant employee is required to wear a mask, so just assume everyone is smiling politely at you for being such an understanding, patient customer.

How late can places stay open?

Until 11pm.

Does this mean we’re back to how things were before everything shut down again?

Not quite. Even though we’re heading in the right direction, Chicago restaurants are still operating at a significantly reduced capacity. You can keep track of our region’s progress here, and we’ll also be updating our site as things change.

I don’t think I’m ready to eat indoors yet, but I still want to support restaurants. How can I do that?

We totally get that. Since it’s very hard for a restaurant to succeed with such a limited capacity, many of them are continuing to do takeout and delivery. All the spots on our Chicago Hit List offer carryout, and here are the most exciting new delivery options in the city. And lots of restaurants have heated and covered patios so you can still eat outside.

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