CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The City of Chicago announced Friday the latest regulation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Chicago’s bars and restaurants.
Effective immediately, all bars, restaurants, breweries, and other establishments that serve alcohol for on-premises consumption will be required to close by midnight each evening.
According to the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), this measure, which has the support of the Illinois Restaurant Association and other industry groups, will build on existing regulations that prohibit the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption after 11 p.m. and the sale for off-site consumption after 9 p.m.
BACP said while the vast majority of establishments are following regulations and taking important preventative steps, this directive will minimize the spread of COVID-19 by preventing late-night congregating that could occur after the cutoff of alcohol sales. Only curbside pick-up or delivery of food can occur after midnight, provided that patrons do not enter or remain in the establishment.
Restaurants who do not have a liquor license are not subject to the midnight closure order.
As announced last week, the BACP will continue to take strict enforcement measures to ensure a safe reopening by responding to complaints and proactively canvassing entertainment districts. BACP will continue to partner with the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Fire Department and the Department of Buildings for enforcement, checking to make sure that establishments are requiring patrons to be seated, limiting indoor capacity, ensuring six feet of social distancing, and requiring face coverings.
The city will also continue to enforce the liquor curfews, along with the new midnight closure order for liquor establishments, with penalties for violating reopening guidelines ranging up to $10,000 per violation and immediate closure in egregious cases.
BACP said this latest regulation builds on the Chicago’s ongoing effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and reopen safely and responsibly.
Since June 3, BACP has received 1,112 reopening complaints, conducted 483 investigations, issued 81 warnings or Notices to Correct, cited 17 businesses and ordered the immediate closure of one business.