Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday that non-essential businesses will be forced to close by 10PM each night for two weeks because of an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Lightfoot’s order, which goes into effect Friday at 6PM, states that bars without a proper food license are not permitted to serve indoors, CBS2 Chicago reported. The order also places restrictions on personal gatherings, limiting groups to 6 or fewer. Lightfoot said she is “taking these measures to avoid potential catastrophic impacts” due to a “rapid rise in cases.”(RELATED: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Dresses Up As ‘Rona Destroyer’ To Announce Halloween Guidelines)
“We’re now seeing an uptick again of large groups of people gathering without social distancing and worse, without mask. Some of it, of course, is a misplaced sense that those you know don’t have it. That’s wrong,” Lightfoot added.
EFFECTIVE TOMORROW: New measures go into effect to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago. Essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will be able to stay open during the non-essential business curfew. More info ➡️ https://t.co/njOQ14kE6Y. pic.twitter.com/e7ixwjMFM7
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) October 22, 2020
Head of the Chicago Department of Public Health Allison Arwady said Chicago is averaging 645 new COVID-19 cases per day, which is a 54% increase from the previous week, the report added.
“Large gatherings and even small gatherings are posing significant health risks right now. There is a 30% chance that someone in a group of 25 people has COVID-19. There is a 50% chance that someone in a group of 50 has COVID-19 even getting together, 10 people in Chicago, 14% chance that someone has COVID-19,” Arwady said.
Lightfoot acknowledged that Chicago is at a “critical moment” and said there’s no other option but to set the restrictions, according to CBS.
“I don’t want to put more restrictions in our city. No one does, but I have to do what is right to save lives and if that means rolling back further, I will,” Lightfoot added.
The US reported its highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases Thursday with 77,640, according to NBC News. The previous record was set July 29 with 75,723. (RELATED: US Sets New Single-Day Coronavirus Case Record, Enters ‘Darkest’ Period Of Pandemic)
There have been 8,458,554 reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and 223,602 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.