Cook County officials release new voluntary guidelines as COVID-19 cases rise

Eric Horng Image
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Cook County officials release new voluntary guidelines as COVID-19 cases rise
The guidelines issued by the county are considered, for now, voluntary.

DES PLAINES, Ill. (WLS) -- For now, the new COVID-19 guidelines in Cook County are voluntary, in part because they may be hard for the county to enforce directly, but officials are urging compliance.

At The Beacon Tap in Des Plaines word of the new guidelines was unsettling.

"Every day you wake up, and something is different. Things change, and you're trying to make the correct adaptions," said Tommy Riemer, the general manager at The Beacon Tap.

Cook County officials said suburban bars that don't serve food need to limit their service to outdoor only.

Beacon and other establishments that do serve food can still do indoor business.

Tables will be limited to six instead of ten.

"We have parties of twelve that come in, and we just put them at two separate tables, six at a table, and usually we get no pushback on it because people understand what's going on," Riemer said.

The county also limited suburban indoor fitness classes to a maximum of ten participants.

Salon services that require mask removal, including facials and shaves, also violate the guidelines.

The guidelines, which mirror those in Chicago are recommendations, not requirements.

"We don't have the ability to fine, but what we do is we call them up as a start, and we give them the appropriate guidance over the phone," said Dr. Rachel Rubin, with the Cook County Department of Public Health. "We do an interview with their management, and generally speaking people have been cooperative with us up to this point."

The move came as suburban Cook County saw a test positivity rate of 5.8% up from 5.2% ten days ago- a full point higher than the test positivity rate in Chicago.

Illinois reported 1,298 new coronavirus cases and 10 related deaths Monday.

The growing number of 18 to 29-year-old testing positive for COVID-19 is driving the increase, officials said.

RELATED: Coronavirus Illinois: 1,298 new COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths

Officials said the rise in cases is also being driven by case clusters resulting from large gatherings, including day camps, summer parties and large weddings.