Chicago bars can now apply through city to serve customers outside

Chicago News

CHICAGO — The City of Chicago announced an expansion in outdoor seating guidelines that will now include bars and breweries.

The Outdoor Dining Program began in late May as the city moved into Phase 3 of reopening. Establishments could serve customers as long as tables were six feet apart and staff wore face masks and follow social distancing guidelines put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

However in mid-July, restrictions were put back in place for bars, taverns, breweries and other places that serve alcohol without a Retail Food License. They have not been allowed to serve customers indoors.

But starting Friday, those places can apply to temporarily operate on the sidewalk in front of their business. If approved, they can then use outdoor areas that would typically require an Outdoor Patio License.  

“Today’s alteration will give these establishments, which cannot operate indoors due to COVID-19, a new option for outdoor service on the sidewalk,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office. “The sidewalk space utilized by bars and taverns must be set up with six feet of pedestrian clearance remaining, and service areas must be enclosed by a barrier, similar to sidewalk cafes. Furthermore, liquor establishments must identify a partner food establishment to ensure that food is available for patrons.” 

Businesses can find the application on the city’s website.

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