Indoor eating ban, virus restrictions could return to Cook County

CHICAGO, IL – Restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including a ban on eating indoors, could return to suburban Cook County in “a matter of days,” a county public health official told reporters on Saturday.

Dr. Rachel Rubin, co-director of the Cook County Department of Public Health, said another spike in cases could prompt the department to re-enact restrictions, the Chicago Tribune reported. That could mean a ban on eating indoors and impose gathering limits, he said.

“We may very well have to take drastic action in a matter of days,” Rubin said, according to the Tribune report. “I don’t promise that one way or another.”

Rubin’s prediction comes as coronavirus cases are on the rise in Cook County.

Suburban Cook County’s seven-day case average stands at 498 cases per day. As of last week, the positivity rate was 5 percent, close to the 8 percent benchmark that prompted shutdowns last fall.

The county ended some mitigation measures in late March, including an increase in the number of people allowed to eat in groups outdoors and opening amusement parks to 25 percent of capacity.

The reversal also affected outdoor fitness classes, gatherings, social events, and recreational activities by increasing capacity to 50 percent or 100 people.

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