The City of Chicago has announced a slackening of COVID-related restrictions on bars and restaurants starting October 1, 2020.

The new guidelines allow bars to re-open for indoor service, raise indoor capacity limits from 25% to 40% for an absolute maximum of 50 people per room. The new guidelines apply to bars, breweries and other businesses with a liquor license but without a food license.

In maybe the biggest move, though, bars will now be able to remain open until 1am. They were previously forced to close by 11pm, leading to eerily deserted bar and club districts during the summer months.

“These changes build on Chicago’s status as one of the most open large cities in America and are possible due to continued improvement on crucial COVID health metrics,” a release announcing the changes stated, “including a declining number of new daily cases, a test positivity rate now below 5% and the lowest rates of hospitalization and death in months.”

Many other restrictions remain in place: customers must remain at their table, the tables are limited to a maximum of 6 people and bar service itself (as in standing at one) is forbidden.

In other COVID changes, customers will also be able to receive facials and other spa services that require touching the face without a mask, and health classes can expand from 10 to 15 people each.

Businesses and citizens can find the updated re-opening guidelines at