Chicago Mayor Lori LightfootLori LightfootRestaurants brace for long COVID-19 winter Homicides spike 52 percent in Chicago amid coronavirus pandemic Chicago mayor says ‘suffering’ small businesses need access to capital MORE (D) announced a 10 p.m. curfew on nonessential businesses in the city due to a surge in daily new coronavirus cases. 

The Windy City is now experiencing 640 new cases of coronavirus a day, an increase of more than 54 percent in the past week. Chicago’s positivity rate has also risen to 6.4 percent, and there has also been a rise in hospitalizations.  

“This is a critical moment for us and is really going to determine what we all experience for months to come,” Lightfoot said during a news conference on Thursday. “There’s no other option. It doesn’t exist.”

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All nonessential businesses will be closed between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will still remain open during that time. 

Bars and breweries in the city that do not have a retail food establishment license will no longer be able to serve customers indoors at all, and establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption must end alcohol service at 9 p.m. Restaurants may still continue operating for takeout or delivery, but indoor dining and alcohol consumption must top at 10 p.m.

Residents are also being asked to avoid social gatherings of more than six people and to end all social gatherings by 10 p.m. 

The order went into effect Friday morning and will be effective for two weeks. 

“The rapid rise we’re experiencing in COVID-19 cases across all demographics, zip codes and age groups is consistent with what public health experts and responsible leaders have been predicting for months,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “This moment is a critical inflection point for Chicago, and these new restrictions and guidelines represent our ongoing effort to stay ahead of this pandemic through the data and science of this disease.”

The Illinois Department of Health reported 4,942 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and 44 new deaths. There have been 360,159 cases since the pandemic began.

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