Articles under Coronavirus Updates
Chicago Moves to Lighter COVID Restriction Tier
Governor Pritzker just announced the opening up of businesses located in Region 11 (City of Chicago) to Tier 1 Mitigation starting TOMORROW, January 23.
Please note the following changes:
Bars and restaurants
- Indoor service limited to 25% capacity or 25 persons per room, which ever is lower
- No tables exceeding 4 people indoors an 6 people outside
- Suspend indoor service if not serving food
- Outdoor, delivery and takeout service continues under updated hour
- Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when patrons are seated and actively eating or drinking.
- Patrons must be seated whenever they are eating or drinking
- Tables must be six feet apart
- All bars and restaurants must close at 11pm
- Indoor service limited to no more than two hours
Food must be available at all times in order to offer indoor service. This means that bars, taverns or breweries without a food license can reopen indoors as long as they partner with a food establishment so that food is available to patrons at all times (e.g., making menus available and allowing delivery, allowing patrons to order from third-party delivery services).
New Free Mask Dispensers on CTA Buses
CTA recently announced a new pilot program to distribute free masks on city buses. The program will start on 200 buses that cover highly ridden routes, including the #77 Belmont line. Please continue to wear a mask and to be safe on public transit.
COVID Vaccination Update
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) will be following Center for Disease Control guidelines on who receives priority for the vaccine. The first phase will be vaccination of frontline healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Next the vaccine will be given to essential workers and those over 75. My office will continue to give out updates as we learn more from CDPH. You can find more details about the rollout of the vaccine by clicking here.
For Immediate Release: November 20, 2020
OEMC Encourages Residents to Prepare Now for Upcoming Winter Weather Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Warming centers, connection to shelters and other City services available through 3-1-1; COVID-19 stay-at-home advisory in effect for Chicago
CHICAGO – During Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois, and as the City prepares for the winter season during the COVID-19 pandemic; the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is advising residents and businesses to consider how the cold temperatures and changing weather to come will impact their planning and take precautions now to get ready, especially given the challenges of the pandemic.
“OEMC is dedicated to ensure the City of Chicago is prepared for the winter season, particularly during the COVID pandemic,” said OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice. “We will continue to monitor weather conditions with the National Weather Service and coordinate response efforts with City departments and public partners to keep residents safe and informed.”
OEMC hosted a Winter Weather Workshop in October with public safety, infrastructure and other departments and agencies to plan the coordination of operations for the winter months ahead.
Severe cold temperatures, strong winds and snow can cause additional hazards, whether home or traveling, so it’s important to stay informed. OEMC issues several alerts and notifications to keep people up to date on weather conditions and emergencies.
- Notify Chicago: Sign up for emergency alerts at www.NotifyChicago.org
- CHILAKE: For lakefront notices including flooding, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5
- COVID: Get COVID-19 updates by TEXTING “COVID19” to 6-7-2-8-3
- CHIBIZ: Business updates, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3
Department of Streets and Sanitation
The Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) manages more than 9,400 lane miles of roadway and maintains a fleet of over 300 snow vehicles that are fully prepared to respond if needed. In addition, DSS has over 400,000 tons of salt stationed at salt piles throughout the city.
Winter Overnight Parking Ban
The City’s winter overnight parking ban goes into effect on December 1st. This ban restricts parking on 107 miles of critical roadways during the hours of 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. to ensure that our crews can quickly salt and plow the streets during a winter storm. Residents are encouraged to check the posted street signs for parking restrictions.
Chicago Department of Public Health
As the City braces for cold temperatures and winter weather, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) would like to caution residents to take care of themselves, and to also provide assistance to neighbors, family members, pets and friends, particularly those who are elderly, have disabilities and/or live alone. Taking preventative action is the best way to stay safe from the serious health risks associated with winter weather. Residents are advised to limit their time outside, wear layers of warm clothing when going outside, and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. As a reminder, under Chicago’s Stay-at-Home Advisory, residents should:
- Only leave home to go to work, school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care or going to the grocery store or pharmacy.
- Always practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others.
- Wear a face covering at all times.
- Do not have gatherings in your home.
- Avoid all non-essential, out-of-state travel.
CDPH is also reminding residents that it’s not too late to get a flu shot. The combination of flu and COVID-19 could overwhelm healthcare settings. We all need to do our part to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses and help conserve potentially scarce health resources in hospitals already caring for COVID-19 patients. Residents can find flu shot locations at chicago.gov/flu.
Department of Family and Support Services Warming Areas
The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) activates warming areas at the City’s six community service centers when temps are at 32 degrees or below.
- The warming areas are open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- On evenings, weekends or holidays, city-operated facilities including libraries and park facilities might also serve as warming areas, if needed.
- Residents must wear a face covering while in the warming areas.
- The Garfield Community Service Center at 10 South Kedzie, is open on a 24-hour basis to connect families and residents to emergency shelter.
- Those seeking a warm place to go after hours can also call 3-1-1 to be connected with available services. Individuals requiring emergency overnight shelter should also call 3-1-1, visit 311.Chicago.gov or download the CHI311 app to ensure residents are aware of the City’s designated warming areas. Residents are also encouraged to check on relatives, neighbors and friends during a winter weather emergency.
- A list of community service center locations is available at Chicago.gov/FSS. Information and multilingual fliers containing warming center information in English, Spanish and Polish also are posted on DFSS’s website at Chicago.gov/FSS.
Chicago Fire Department Winter Preparedness Safety Tips
The Chicago Fire Department does not recommend using space heaters; however, if used, be sure they are UL certified and at least 3 feet from anything that can ignite. Use of a space heater in children’s rooms should be monitored closely as children sometimes move them close to or into the bed with tragic results. If extension cords are used, they should be rated at 15 amps minimum and never put cords under carpet.
With the added demand on furnaces and boilers, CFD also reminds residents are required by ordinance to have working carbon monoxide detectors to protect against carbon monoxide leaks from a heating system that could be fatal over time. Those seeking access to warming centers and/or experiencing insufficient heat are encouraged to contact 3-1-1 for immediate assistance. Also, be sure to keep smoke detectors in working order.
Department of Water Management
The Department of Water Management reminds residents to prevent frozen pipes, make sure that warm air is circulating throughout the home and keep a trickle of water running. If pipes freeze, do not use candles or any open flame to thaw them. Use a hair dryer or heating pad. For more info visit www.chicago.gov/water
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service in Chicago suggests keeping an eye on the forecast even 3-5 days out and consider how the expected conditions will impact you and how you can prepare. As winter weather develops and situations are updated, it’s even more important to know what actions are needed when advisories and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service.
- Winter Weather Advisory: Potentially dangerous winter weather is expected within the next 12-36 hours; Travel difficulties expected.
- Winter Storm Warning: Dangerous winter weather is expected in the next 12-36 hours or is occurring; Travel problems are expected.
- Blizzard Warning: Severe winter weather is expected in the next 12-36 hours or is occurring – including white out conditions. Do not travel.
- Motorists should take extra precautions to winterize vehicles and have necessary supplies on-the-go. Keep in mind, disabled vehicles or distracted driving can cause accidents, impact traffic and others or requiring emergency services.
- Residents should know the signs and care of frostbite and hypothermia. For Winter preparation information visit, Chicago.gov/OEMC/alertrespond/WeatherExtremes including links to other local, state and federal resources.
- Avoid unnecessary trips outside-if you must go out, limit the time you stay outside;
- Wear several layers of loose, warm clothing;
- Keep your head, hands and feet covered when outdoors;
- Stay dry, because moisture can damage the insulating effectiveness of clothing;
- Pay extra attention to your daily needs: get enough sleep, eat high energy foods, drink warm beverages to help your body stay warm, and avoid alcoholic beverages;
Peoples Gas Cold Weather Tips and COVID-19 Financial Assistance
Make sure you’re ready to heat your home safely this winter. Have your furnace inspected by a qualified technician and follow these safety steps throughout the heating season, Please call us immediately at 866- 556-6002 if you think you may have a natural gas emergency. For safety tips and additional details, visit PeoplesGasDelivery.com/safety/cold-weather
Peoples Gas has voluntarily suspended residential disconnections for the remainder of November. From Dec. 1 to March 31, the annual winter moratorium will protect residential customers from natural gas disconnections. Additionally, extended payment arrangements and financial assistance for relief to customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more by visiting, PeoplesGasDelivery.com/payment-bill/assistance or call 866-556-6000.
For additional information on emergency preparedness information, visit our website at Chicago.gov/OEMC. Follow the Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Facebook, Twitter (@ChicagoOEMC) and Instagram (chicago_oemc_911) using the hashtags #ChicagoOEMC #Smart911 #Chicago911 #BeSafeChicago.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2020
Mayor’s Press Office
MAYOR LIGHTFOOT AND CDPH COMMISSIONER DR. ARWADY SOUND THE ALARM ON SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19
Cases, positivity rate and hospitalizations all on the rise over the past two weeks; City considering measures to reverse the increase, including renewed restrictions on businesses
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., to sound the alarm on the worrying trends across COVID-19 health metrics, including a significant rise in cases, positivity rate and hospitalizations. Over the past two weeks, cases have risen by more than 50%, to over 500 per day. This is the most cases per day seen in Chicago since late May, the tail-end of the pandemic’s first wave, and is coinciding with a worrying increase in hospitalizations, which are also up 25% for non-ICU COVID patients and suspected cases since September 22. To combat this second wave of COVID-19, Mayor Lightfoot is calling on all residents to wear masks and strictly limit social gatherings, even small ones. In a gathering of only 10 people, there is a 14% chance that someone is currently infected with COVID-19. To further fight the spread of COVID-19, the City is considering additional measures in the
coming days, including bringing back restrictions on businesses.
“The data is clear – we are now in a second surge of COVID-19 and I am extremely concerned,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Now is the time to double down on what we know works and come together as a city to flatten the curve once again. Everyone must do their part to keep themselves and others safe and help us overcome this deadly disease.”
Over the last two weeks in particular, Chicago has seen an alarming increase across COVID-19 health metrics. While this increase has coincided with an increase in testing, with close to 11,000 tests now completed each day, the test positivity rate has also increased more than a percentage point to 5.2%. This indicates that the increase in testing does not fully explain the rise in cases. Furthermore, hospitalizations, a measure of severe outcomes which often lags behind an increase in cases, are up to 313 per day citywide. Deaths, too, usually lag an increase in cases and hospitalizations, so City officials are expressing great concern over the possibility of a further increase. Over 3,000 Chicagoans have died from COVID-19.
“I’m deeply concerned about these trends and worried that we’ve got some COVID fatigue setting in where people are not following the public health guidance as they should. This virus doesn’t care who you are, it’s just looking to spread, and if we give it the opportunity to do so it will,” said Dr. Arwady. “Most troubling is the fact that COVID-19 continues to have a disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx individuals, and those with under-lying medical conditions. But we’re seeing a rise in cases across the city and across all races and ethnicities, so we all need to rededicate ourselves to combatting this epidemic.”
Mayor Lightfoot and Dr. Arwady are calling on all residents to recognize the seriousness of this second wave of COVID-19 and take the necessary personal steps to stem the tide. Specifically, all residents need to wear masks or face coverings anytime they are in a public space or unable to maintain six feet of social distancing. Furthermore, residents should avoid social gatherings, even small get-togethers. The more individuals that are a part of your “bubble”, the greater the risk of COVID19 transmission. In a gathering of ten people, there’s a 14% chance one person in that group has COVID-19.That means one out of every seven gatherings of ten people has COVID-19 present. This likelihood of someone having COVID-19 increases as gathering sizes grow – there is a 50% chance that someone in a gathering of 50 people has COVID-19. The majority of COVID-19 cases in Chicago are spread between people that know each other, so the best way to stem the tide is to avoid social gatherings and keep your bubble small.
To further fight the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, the City is prepared to take drastic but necessary steps in the coming days. This may include a rollback of COVID-19 reopening regulations for businesses, including potentially restricting capacity and limiting total gathering size and/or returning to Phase Three of the reopening framework.
“Chicago is at a critical moment in the ongoing fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Nancy Glick of Sinai Health System’s Infectious Disease Division. “We have learned a great deal about this virus since the first surge, including what works to stop the spread. It is more important than ever to commit to those strategies – wearing a mask, limiting social gatherings and ultimately saving lives.” The significant increase of COVID-19 in Chicago corresponds with a second wave of the virus throughout the entire Chicagoland region, across Illinois, in other Midwestern states and throughout the country. As a reminder, the City’s Emergency Travel Order currently covers 26 states and territories, including Wisconsin and Indiana. Chicagoans are urged not to travel to these states and territories, and if they do they are required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return, unless they are an essential worker traveling for business. For Wisconsin and Indiana, the Order applies to individuals coming from Wisconsin or Indiana to Chicago for non-work purposes and Chicago residents returning from Wisconsin or Indiana, unless they are deemed an essential worker. To learn more, visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2020
Mayor’s Press Office
MAYOR LIGHTFOOT ANNOUNCES TWO WINS FOR CHICAGO’S RESTAURANT INDUSTRY: DOORDASH’S $500K SUPPORT FOR WINTERIZATION AND THE
WINNERS OF THE WINTER DINING CHALLENGE WITH BMO HARRIS BANK ANDILLINOIS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION
DoorDash will provide financial support to help cover costs of winterizing outdoor dining; and Heated “Japanese-style” Tables, outdoor Block Party and Cozy Cabins came out as the top
winners of this first-ever winter design competition
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced two significant developments in support of Chicago’s restaurant community. First, in collaboration with the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), DoorDash will be providing $500,000 in financial support to Chicago restaurants to help cover the costs of winterizing their outdoor dining areas. Second, in partnership with BMO Harris Bank and the IRA, the Mayor also announced today the winners of the Winter Design Challenge – a first-ofits-kind competition for community members to reimagine the winter outdoor dining experience in Chicago. After receiving over 600 submissions, a team of judges that included architects, designers, chefs, restauranteurs and servers selected three ideas that not only capture the spirit of Chicago but can provide feasible and safe options for Chicagoans to enjoy dining out as temperatures drop.
The winners of the Winter Design Challenge are:
- Amy Young, ASD | SKY, Cozy Cabins: Small modular, adjoining ‘cabins’ that fit within the footprint of a standard parking space.
- Neil Reindel, Block Party: A flexible approach to outdoor dining that is adaptable and easy to implement for many different sites and street configurations.
- Ellie Henderson, Heated Tables: Modify the Japanese Kotatsu, an economical way to keep warm and cozy in cold months.
“As we approach the winter months and adapt our COVID-19 response accordingly, we owe it to our restaurants to make sure they have what they need to continue keeping their doors open and serving their communities,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Thanks to IRA and the outstanding creativity of our Winter Dining Challenge winners, we will be able to not only make this a reality, but do soin a way that is safe and showcases our City’s innovative spirit. I extend a huge congratulations to each of our Winter Dining Challenge winners. Thanks also to DoorDash for investing in Chicago and its restaurants to assist them in continuing to serve Chicagoans this winter.”
Over the course of two weeks, 643 submissions were received on global design firm IDEO’s open innovation platform. After two preliminary rounds of reviews by IDEO and City departments, a final 26 submissions were chosen for the last round of the competition. The City and the IRA then fielded a set of judges with a range of perspectives from the restaurant industry and neighborhood associations. The 26 finalists were then evaluated based on a ration that assigned points for feasibility, innovation, cost efficiency, safety adherence and functionality of the idea.
“We are excited to have had the chance to reimagine our public spaces and provide Chicagoans an opportunity to experience the city in a fun and unique way. Chicago has always been a resilient city when faced with difficult times, said Neil Reindel. “With Block Party we wanted to provide a warm place for People to reconnect as we move forward through the winter and into 2021.”“We are honored that our concept was chosen for the Chicago Winter Dining Challenge. Our Cozy Cabins idea focused on creating a warm, welcoming experience to encourage Chicago residents to safely dine in rather than take out,” said Amy Young of ASD | SKY. “We wanted to create an outdoor destination centered around new experiences, neighborhood connections, and a sense of community—elements lost while dining at home. We hope this idea helps support small businesses and safely bring people together during this difficult year.”
The winners of the Winter Design Challenge will each receive a $5,000 cash prize. Additionally, the IRA will be selecting local construction firms that will start the process of bringing these ideas to life. The process will include design development and technical refinement. Once complete, the firms will be able to construct prototypes that can be tested at Chicago neighborhood restaurants in the coming weeks. The IRA will choose those pilot restaurants, and the construction will be paid for with funds that BMO Harris has previously contributed for this purpose.
“We expected that the Winter Design Challenge would attract many great ideas, but the number of unique, innovative suggestions was staggering,” said David Casper, Chair and CEO, BMO Harris Bank. “Supporting our superb restaurants here in Chicago is critical, and I know my BMO colleagues and I are looking forward to dining out throughout the winter.”
The winning designs and other outdoor options can be flexibly adapted for use by restaurants and bars throughout the City in sidewalk cafes, outdoor patios or through the new Expanded Outdoor Dining (EOD) Program that was created specifically to foster outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, over 400 bars and restaurants have participated in the EOD program to operate in their parking lot, on the sidewalk or in closed streets, and they will have the opportunity to extend these permits to allow for continued operations during the fall and winter months.
“I want to thank the City of Chicago, IDEO and the Illinois Restaurant Association for choosing my winter dining idea,” said Ellie Henderson. “My hope is that my proposal for using heated tables will help restaurants adapt, providing a novel open-air dining experience for their patrons that is safe and comfortably warm through colder months in 2020 and beyond.”
The City has created clear guidelines for outdoor operations as the weather gets cooler. The implementation of the winning designs and other outdoor options must follow these guidelines, which provide clear directions for safe and responsible outdoor service. Restaurants and bars will not need to apply for a new sidewalk café or EOD permit to operate in the winter months, though they do need to ensure that their submitted site plans reflect heating and structure elements. To make it easier for bars and restaurants to continue operating safely and successfully, the City is allowing temporary tents on the public right of way for the first time and temporarily extending the length of tent permits that are typically issued for 60 days to now last 180 days.
To help restaurants and bars operate outside, the City will be holding webinars next week on safe outdoor operations. To register and learn more, visit www.chicago.gov/businesseducation.
In addition to the City’s commitment to supporting restaurants and bars, DoorDash, today announced a new $2 million grant program to help restaurants in select cities prepare for winter and continue to serve customers during colder weather. DoorDash, together with the Illinois Restaurant Association and Mayor Lightfoot, is proud to announce $500,000 in grants for Chicago-area local restaurants as part of DoorDash’s Main Street Strong initiative to help restaurants recover and succeed amidst COVID-19 related challenges.
“Our city’s restaurants are finally starting to move forward, and we have to help them maintain that momentum,” said David London, Head of U.S. East & Federal Government Relations at DoorDash. “DoorDash is deeply committed to supporting our restaurant partners and the communities we serve. This initiative will provide critical financial support to keep restaurants going through the cold weather, and we’re appreciative of the City and IRA’s shared support.”
As winter weather looms on the horizon, Chicago area restaurants will be able to apply to receive a $5,000 grant to defray winterization expenses such as the cost of heating equipment, additional safety materials to improve indoor dining, upgrades for air filtration systems, bulk orders of blankets for patrons, and more. Applications open on October 16, and recipients will be notified by the end of December. To qualify, restaurants must be located in Chicago with three or fewer locations operating currently, 50 employees or fewer in 2019, and $3M or less in 2019 annual revenue per store. Restaurants can find full details and the application on the Hello Alice website beginning October 16th here.
Read more about DoorDash’s efforts to help restaurants adapt to winter temperatures on the DoorDash blog.
While three winners were chosen for the Winter Dining Challenge, there were many other ideas that would also create options for outdoor dining during the winter. The top 60 ideas have been compiled and is available by clicking here. To learn more about the Winter Dining Challenge and see all of the submissions, click here.