Chicago restaurant owners see boost in business thanks to expanding dining

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CHICAGO – Some restaurant owners said the city’s expanded dining has been a much needed boost for business.

Parts of Lincoln Avenue shut down Saturday to give more room for restaurants to operate outside.

Bikers, walkers and diners took advantage of the sunny day to get outside and support local businesses.

“It’s nice that you can do more,” said Dean Letif. “But they don’t restrict you too much, but at the same time, they’re being smart about it.”

Street closures around the city are part of an effort to help businesses rebound as the city slowly reopens its economy.

“This is a model that we’re really glad that our city adopted and I have to say we were the city that works,” Ald. Michele Smith (34th Ward) said. “In the last few weeks, we made this happen with our city departments.”

All outdoor dining must continue to follow public health guidelines, including face masks and social distancing.

But restaurant owners said it’s worth it. Sales are up around 25%, which is making up for lost revenue.

Ten different neighborhoods have been closing streets to give restaurants more space.

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