Indoor dining came to a shrieking halt in many cities after COVID-19 cases surged across the US, but we may be coming upon the light at the end of the tunnel.
As of this past weekend, restaurants in Chicago, Baltimore and DC were given the all clear to reopen immediately, while Michiganders can begin indoor dining as soon as Feb. 1. Because cases are decreasing in each region, restaurants will be allowed to function at 25 percent indoor capacity, while outdoor dining in Baltimore will cap at 50 percent.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged the reopening of indoor dining, citing that it might be safer than underground private gatherings to which so many Chicagoans have resorted, causing confirmed cases to rise. As restaurants reopen, she hopes diners will flock to a more regulated type of gathering that still allows them to socialize.
“Let’s bring it out of the shadows," Lightfoot is quoted in the Chicago Tribune. "Let’s allow them to have some recreation in restaurants, in bars, where we can actually work with responsible owners and managers to regulate and protect people from COVID-19."
Once Chicago recorded three straight days of a COVID-19 positivity rate below 8 percent, the city moved into the Illinois Department of Health’s Tier 1, which allows dining to resume.
According to a report by Eater Detroit, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer feels the pause on indoor dining gave cases a chance to decrease. Becuase of that precaution, the state has reached a point safe enough for dining to resume. Still, officials caution against rushing to indoor dining.
DC Eater covered the news of restaurants reopening in the Capitol. Restrictions were originally meant to lift on Jan. 15, but the insurrection on Jan. 6 brought an extension until after President Biden’s inauguration. The delay also caused the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington to move its bi-annual Restaurant Week to Monday, Jan. 25.
California diners may have high hopes as the Golden State lifts its stay-at-home order today. According to the LATimes, outdoor dining is back on the menu, but officials still hesitate to allow diners inside.
Photography by: Xinhua News Agency