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Chicago restaurants, some bars reopen to indoor dining

January 23, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Restaurants and certain bars across Chicago and suburban Cook County opened their doors to customers Saturday for the first time since late October after winning approval from Illinois health officials.

Restaurants and bars that serve food can seat customers indoors at 25% capacity or 25 people per room, whichever is less, after the city and county moved up to Tier I of the state’s coronavirus mitigation plan.

Bars that don’t serve food reopen can reopen only if they partner with a restaurant to deliver meals.

“I am thrilled that we have made enough progress in the fight against COVID-19 to reopen our businesses and bring workers back,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

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Massimo Di Vuolo, owner of the Italian restaurant Due Lire in the city’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, told the Chicago Tribune he missed the camaraderie of serving and chatting with diners.

“It’s being together and being with the customers, face to face and having be able to talk to them. … That’s the part that makes business exciting and makes business life romantic,” Di Vuolo said.

Under guidelines, tables will be limited to no more than four people indoors or six people outdoors, and tables must be spaced 6 feet apart. Indoor service will be limited to a maximum of two hours; and bars and restaurants must close by 11 p.m.