Illinois updates COVID guidelines for restaurants and bars

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In addition to hot dogs, Boz customers can enjoy pizza, sloppy joes, egg salad sandwiches, hamburgers, and garden salads. (Photo: Matthew J. Splant)

Face coverings now required for patron-staff interactions

Information provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

CHICAGO, Ill. (August 25, 2020) – On August 25, the State of Illinois announced revised guidelines for restaurants and bar establishments statewide to operate safely and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Based on a recent increase in cases, these latest guidelines require patrons to wear a mask during any interaction with wait staff, food service workers and other employees at bars and restaurants. Face coverings must be worn over the nose and mouth when patrons are approached and served by staff, including when employees take patrons orders, deliver food and beverages, and service tables. This guidance will also apply to other facilities with food services areas that are currently subject to the Restore Illinois guidance, such as indoor recreational facilities, museums, and entertainment venues.

New guidelines went into effect Wednesday, August 26th and require face coverings to be worn both in indoor and outdoor dining settings in all eleven regions in the state. Full guidelines may be found on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website.

“Illinois residents continue to take important steps to protect the safety of our loved ones and neighbors. However, due to a recent uptick in cases, we must take additional precautionary steps when we are out in public,” said Governor Pritzker. “Based on conversations and input from industry and business leaders, the State of Illinois is implementing updated guidelines which will allow restaurants and bars across the state to stay open while helping protect the health and safety of patrons and staff.”
Prior to August 26, patrons were required to wear a mask whenever on premises, except while eating and drinking at the table or bar. The new guidelines ensure that while seated, interactions between business staff and patrons can happen safely to prevent possible spread of the virus.

To assist bars and restaurants with implementing new safety measures, DCEO has provided an updated industry toolkit on their website. The toolkit provides revised health guidelines materials, including new signage that may be displayed at restaurants and bars to encourage compliance.

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COVID restrictions tightened on neighboring Will and Kankakee counties (August 27, 2020)