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Chicago to resume outdoor dining next week, while NYC still has no plan

The Windy City is set to blow past New York with its post-coronavirus lockdown restaurant reopenings, as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday that eateries can resume outdoor service on June 3.

“We’ll also see the partial reopening of restaurants and coffee shops with a focus on outdoor space,” said Lightfoot in a press briefing, according to Eater.

The move was announced days after Chicago released a 13-page pamphlet of detailed guidelines for how restaurants can safely reopen, including limited party sizes and tables spaced six-feet apart to maintain social distancing, or Plexiglass sheets in between when spacing isn’t possible.

“Let’s just be smart: Let’s follow the guidance. Let’s follow the social distancing, wearing a face covering in public,” Lightfoot urged Chicagoans, reported Eater. “All the things you have done because you know this saves lives and reduces the spread of the virus.”

Illinois had recorded 115,855 confirmed diagnoses of the bug as of Thursday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University, making it the third hardest-hit state behind New York, with 366,733, and New Jersey, with 157,185.

But despite hardly being untouched by the pandemic, Chicago remains bounds ahead of New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has been tight-lipped on plans for the city’s own reopening, even while saying that it could begin as early as June 1, to the ire of both business owners and politicians.

Fed-up with waiting, the City Council on Thursday rolled out legislation to expand outdoor dining in New York, similar to Chicago.

The first phase of New York’s opening would include such low-risk industries as construction, manufacturing and curbside pick-up retail.

Still, city bar and restaurant owners have been clamoring for concrete answers, and widely panned what few likely realities of reopening de Blasio has teased.

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