Chicago eases COVID-19 restrictions, limits amid dropping cases

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In the heart of Uptown's Entertainment District, the outdoor set up at the Fat Cat includes a little heat.

Starting Thursday Chicago bars and restaurants will be able to serve until 1 a.m.

"Once they get here they like to hang out, so now they can stay here and if that means another drink or two- it means everything," said Cy Oldham, the owner of Fat Cat.

As part of the eased COVID-19 restrictions, the City of Chicago has also raised the maximum capacity for indoor dining tot 25% for bars and 40% for restaurants and bars that serve food.

RELATED: Chicago eases COVID-19 restrictions, limits amid dropping cases; changes take effect Thursday

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Breweries, taverns, bars and other establishments that serve alcohol without a food license may reopen with limited indoor seating.



At Fat Cat they have opened windows but cranked up the heat to increase ventilation.

Oldham is also selling fleece blankets to keep customers cozy and safe.

"If we can get a few more people in here- to-gos, carry-outs. We hope to make it through the winter," Oldham said, "We've been here for a long time. We've been a staple in the neighborhood. We want to be here for our neighbors."

In River North, Mercadito had relied on outdoor seating for business.

Mercadito's Director of Operations, Marissa Tunon, said the new rules allow for more indoor seating and later operations are well timed with fewer days left for outdoor dining.

"It will make up for outside seating we are losing. It will be really helpful and the extended hours of operations are great because we're big with those in the industry so that will allow some people to come in later," Tunon said.
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