STATE OF ILLINOIS UDPATES SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR RESTAURANTS AND BAR ESTABLISHMENTS TO PROTECT PATRONS AND WORKERS FROM COVID-19

The State of Illinois today announced revised guidelines for restaurants and bar establishments statewide to operate safely and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Based on a recent increase in cases, these latest guidelines will require patrons to wear a mask during any interaction with wait staff, food service workers and other employees at bars and restaurants. Face coverings must be worn over the nose and mouth when patrons are approached and served by staff, including but not limited to when employees take patrons orders, deliver food and beverages, and service tables. This guidance will also apply to other facilities with food services areas that are currently subject to the Restore Illinois guidance, such as indoor recreational facilities, museums and entertainment venues. New guidelines go into effect Wednesday, August 26th and will require face coverings to be worn both in indoor and outdoor dining settings in all eleven regions in the state. Full guidelines may be found on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website. The revised guidelines announced today build on both the statewide Restore Illinois guidelines as well as the tiered mitigation strategies that are implemented when a region sees consistent increased test positivity or hospital admissions. The latest data on regional test positivity and hospitals can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health(IDPH) website.  More information about the Restore Illinois guidelines and tiered mitigation measures can be found on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website. Patrons are currently required to wear a mask whenever on premises, except while eating and drinking at the table or bar. The new guidelines ensure that while seated, interactions between business staff and patrons can happen safely to prevent possible spread of the virus.The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has worked with industry leaders, who have requested heightened measures to protect the safety of workers in light of the recent increase in cases, and to further reduce the risk of spread that could harm business operations. Phase 4 regulations remain in effect in ten out of the eleven regions across the state. Currently, bars and restaurants remain open with capacity restrictions to allow for social distancing – with seated parties of 10 or less, tables spaced 6-feet apart, and standing areas at no more than 25 percent capacity indoors. Region four is currently operating under increased mitigations following a sharp increase in its COVID-19 positivity rate, and Region seven will soon institute additional mitigation measures to take effect Wednesday August 26 in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To assist bars and restaurants with implementing new safety measures, DCEO has provided an updated industry toolkit on their website. The toolkit provides revised health guidelines materials, including new signage that may be displayed at restaurants and bars to encourage compliance. Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan is a phased, data-driven approach to reopening the state. Illinois is currently in Phase 4 of the reopening plan, with recent updates made to create 11 public health regions and allow Illinois to introduce additional mitigations to fight against resurgence in our state. From the beginning, Restore Illinois has contemplated changes to guidance as progress is made, or as public health data suggests increasing rapid spread. DCEO has worked with IDPH to develop extensive public health guidelines since May, providing information and resources to help protect businesses and communities in reopening safely. For more on industry guidelines, visit DCEO’s website at https://dceocovid19resources.com/restore-illinois.

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