City finds ‘high level of compliance’ on first weekend of indoor dining; cites 1 business for serving nearly 80 patrons

Over the weekend, Chicago bar and restaurant owners were allowed to open their doors for the first time in almost three months.

SHARE City finds ‘high level of compliance’ on first weekend of indoor dining; cites 1 business for serving nearly 80 patrons
Staff serve a customer behind a plastic barrier at Valois Cafeteria in the Hyde Park neighborhood Saturday.

Staff serve a customer behind a plastic barrier at Valois Cafeteria in the Hyde Park neighborhood Saturday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Restaurants and bars showed a “high level of compliance” with coronavirus restrictions this weekend as they were allowed to seat diners indoors for the first time in nearly three months.

That’s the assessment of city officials, who cited only one West Side art gallery for allegedly flouting social distancing limits and serving more than three times as many patrons as allowed.

The Drip G, 5529 W. Chicago Ave., was cited for allowing 79 patrons to eat and drink indoors, according to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

No other violations of the Tier 1 Mitigation Measures were found Saturday and Sunday.

Over the weekend, Chicago bar and restaurant owners were allowed to open their doors for the first time in almost three months.

Indoor service previously resumed in the Will-Kankakee county region, and it was allowed as of Tuesday in DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

Tier 1 mitigation level allows restaurants and bars that serve food to seat customers indoors at 25% capacity or 25 people per room, whichever is less. Bars that don’t serve food must partner with a restaurant to deliver on site.

“The return of limited indoor dining in Chicago is a significant milestone in our fight against the COVID-19 virus and a huge win for our bars and restaurants,” BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno said in a statement. “However, in order to keep moving forward, we need all of our businesses to commit to following the safety precautions designed to keep their employees and patrons safe.”

BACP said it has relied on outreach to businesses to enforce COVID-19 regulations, and only issued citations “when necessary in egregious or repeated cases.” The agency said it’s held more than 30 webinars with businesses and sent 30,000 direct outreach calls.

Since the pandemic began in March, BACP has conducted 8,236 COVID-19 investigations and cited 417 businesses for violating rules.

“The high level of compliance that we saw this weekend is a sign that our businesses are committed to operating responsibly, and I look forward to continued compliance as we slowly and carefully reopen,” Escareno said.

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