Starting Friday, restaurants in suburban Cook County can serve up to 100 people indoors or no more than 50% capacity, according to officials. Under the current rules, indoor dining was capped at 50 people or no more than 50% capacity per room.
Fully vaccinated people will be exempt from capacity counts at private events such as weddings, which are capped at 100 people or 50% capacity for outdoor nuptials and 50 people or 50% capacity for indoor ceremonies, officials said.
Officials cited decreases in COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations as well as an increase in vaccinations as the catalyst for easing mitigations.
The county’s test positivity rate is 4.8%, down from 5.6% 10 days ago, according to the most recent data available from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Hospitalizations have declined for the last seven consecutive days, but for three days, the availability of intensive care beds has dipped below 20%.
More than 50% of eligible residents – nearly one million people – have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Dr. Rachel Rubin, co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health.
Outdoor and indoor venues with a normal capacity of 200 people or more for ticketed and seated events can operate at 25% capacity, according to the new rules, while smaller indoor venues are limited to 50 people or 50% capacity.
Festivals and general admission outdoor events can increase to 15 people per 1,000 square feet, according to the new rules.
Officials also updated guidelines for face masks, bringing them in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with others who are fully vaccinated without masks or social distancing. People who are fully vaccinated can also go mask free outdoors except in crowded settings or venues, according to officials.