Chicago officials crack down on bars, restaurants selling alcohol as coronavirus cases rise

Sun. March 15, 2020 11:34 AM by News Staff

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City and state officials upset as St. Patrick’s revealers pack bars and ignore social distancing

City officials announced Sunday new precautionary measures for bars and restaurants that sell liquor across Chicago as the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the state continue to rise.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and the Chicago Police Department will begin enforcing new restrictions for any establishment that sells liquor to have less than half of their regular maximum capacity.

Additionally, any establishments that sell liquor will have a maximum capacity of 100 people.

As part of these measures, the city is also requiring owners to discontinue lining customers up outside their establishment on the sidewalks.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted the new restrictions were "due to concerns around St. Patrick's Day festivities."

During an updated on the coronavirus cases on Saturday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker called out St. Patrick's Day revealers who packed Chicago bars and ignored social distancing guidelines.

"We saw a lot of crowds out and about today, and I need to be frank," Pritzker said. "We can have a massive positive effect on bending the transmission curve, thereby saving lives, if people take this seriously."

Chicago bars in neighborhoods like River North, Wicker Park, Wrigleyville, and even Boystown were packed with customers on Saturday from early morning to late night.

As of Sunday morning, Illinois had a total of 66 confirmed coronavirus cases.

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