With coronavirus cases on the rise in Cook County, Board
President Toni Preckwinkle and the Cook County Department of Public Health have
issued new voluntary guidance for bars, fitness clubs, personal care businesses
and other gathering places to help limit the spread of the virus.
According to a press release issued by the CCDPH and Preckwinkle’s
office, suburban Cook County’s positivity rate of coronavirus cases is at 5.8%,
and while that number is below the 8% threshold that the state of Illinois has
set as a potential benchmark to re-introduce coronavirus restrictions,
officials are still seeking to have businesses adhere to new guidelines to cut
down on virus transmission.
“We get it. It’s summer,” Preckwinkle said. “Young people are
tired of the restrictions, but the virus is still with us. We need to get the
word out and encourage young people to be patient. Physical distancing and
wearing a mask is the minimum we need people to do to protect themselves and
their friends and family.”
Dr. Rachel Rubin of the CCDPH says that the department is
hoping businesses will follow the guidelines so that they “don’t become
The new recommendations include:
- Bars, taverns, breweries and other
establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption without a retail food
license are being asked to serve customers outdoors only.
- Restaurants that serve alcohol should continue to
abide by current regulations.
- Maximum party size and table occupancy at
restaurants, bars, taverns and breweries should be limited to six people,
regardless of whether the table is indoors or outdoors.
- Indoor fitness classes should be reduced to a
maximum of 10 people.
- Personal service businesses should discontinue
services that require the removal of face coverings, including shaves and facials.
- Property managers should limit guest entry to
six people per unit to avoid indoor gatherings and parties.
According to the press release, suburban Cook County has
seen two straight days of increased hospital admissions due to coronavirus, but
remains well above the 20 percent threshold of bed availability that would
trigger increased restrictions.
Despite that, officials hope that residents will take the
new guidance seriously.
“If we don’t remain vigilant, we will face far more
restrictive mitigation efforts and we will see more disease and more death,”
Dr. Rubin said. “We are encouraging everyone to follow the ongoing guidelines
and businesses to immediately adopt our recommendations.”