CHICAGO (CBS) — Looser COVID-19 restrictions are week away in Illinois, and it seems night club owners are most excited to get back to full capacity.
So many businesses have been impacted during this pandemic, and long lines wrapped outside night clubs have not been seen in more than a year. Although signs across Chicago welcome back customers and usher them onto heated rooftops, Chicago’s night life has nearly vanished.
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“The night club life, it got destroyed,” said Alferdo Vega with DSTRKT Bar and Grill.
With Illinois entering the bridge phase to fully reopen, the Debonair Social Club is ready to get the DJ back to spinning.
“We want it pumping. That’s our style,” said Debonair owner Steve Harris.
For 15 years club goers packed the night spot along North Milwaukee in Bucktown.
“It’s always a challenge to bring anybody to the door, year one or year 15,” Harris said. “The pandemic didn’t help.”
Harris survived by putting tables on the dance floor.
“We’d love to have a dance floor,” he said. “Debonair is where you come to let your hair down.”
The two levels could soon fill up again after the much anticipated announcement: Large crowds and gatherings can resume in Illinois’ Phase 5. That means no capacity limits by early June and lighter restrictions next week.
“This is a big one, so yeah, we’re excited about this one,” Harris said.
But he knows his club sits in Chicago.
“We are potentially waiting for Ms. Lightfoot’s rule,” he said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on July 4 Chicago should remove all limitations.
“We don’t want to force anybody or force Phase 5 down the throats of Chicagoans, but it feels good to have the option for them to come out,” Vega said.
Over at DSTRKT Bar and Grill they too are ready to embrace those yearning for a dance spot. When the downstairs club opens they realize it will be met with hesitation.
“Definitely in those first few months I feel just the way it happened with Phase 2 and Phase 3 people people gradually just said, ‘I’m going to go out and get a drink. I’m tired of being in the house,’” Vega said.
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And when the state does enter Phase 5 while there will be no restrictions on capacity, many establishments will still require masks for entry.