Chicago bars and breweries to begin reopening for outdoor service Wednesday

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CHICAGO — Bars and breweries in Chicago will begin reopening for outdoor service Wednesday after being closed for months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two weeks after restaurants were allowed to reopen for outdoor service during Phase 3 of Chicago’s reopening plan, bars, lounges, taverns, breweries and other places that serve liquor without a food license will also be allowed to serve patrons in the outdoors.

They can reopen their patios, rooftops and other outdoor areas as of June 17, with restrictions including:

  • Customers must be seated at tables that are 6 feet apart, with six people or fewer per table.
  • Seating is limited to a maximum of two hours.
  • Alcohol sales for on-site consumption must end at 11 p.m. each night.
  • The sale of alcohol for carryout or delivery must end at 9 p.m. each night.

Bars may also apply for a special permit allowing them to expand their seating onto private property or shared streets, depending on availability.

Lightfoot previously said bars were being treated differently than restaurants out of concerns their customers would ignore or forget about social distancing restrictions after they’ve been drinking.

Although bars can now reopen, some businesses say they are not ready.

John Laffler of Off Color Brewing Mouse Trap said 48-hours notice wasn’t enough. Reopening requires a lot of logistics, going from carry-out only to full service on the patio.

So Laffler is preparing to reopen slowly, once he can make sure his staff and customers are protected from COVID-19.

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