On Monday, July 20, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago public health officials announced that stricter restrictions will be reinstated in bars, restaurants, gyms, and other businesses following a recent increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Chicago and Illinois state. The decision comes after the number of cases exceeded 200 for a seven-day rolling average, with Sunday's, July 19, average being reported as 233 cases. Reports indicate the measures will come into effect from 00:01 (local time) on Friday, July 24.
The restrictions being reinstated will mean bars, taverns, breweries, and other places which serve alcohol consumed on-site will no longer be able to serve customers indoors. Establishments which do not serve food will only be permitted to serve customers outdoors, as in phase three. Restaurants which serve alcohol will be allowed to operate as normal, as long as they continue to abide by COVID-19 guidance and existing regulations. The maximum party size at tables for restaurants and bars will be reduced to six people. In gyms, ten people will be the maximum number of people allowed at indoor fitness classes. Further, personal services requiring the removal of face coverings and masks will no longer be permitted, such as facials and shaves. According to media sources, residential property managers will be asked to limit guest entries to five people per-unit in order to stop indoor parties and gatherings.
On Monday, 1173 new cases were reported in Illinois state, and six additional associated deaths bringing the states total number of cases to 162,748 and 7301 related fatalities. There have been 3,816,427 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US as of Monday, and 140,879 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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