City allows bars to team up with restaurants for expanded outdoor service during COVID-19 reopening rollback

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The city of Chicago announced Friday that it will allow bars and taverns that do not sell food to apply for permits to temporarily operate on the sidewalk in front of their business by teaming up with a nearby restaurant.

Restaurants and bars that serve food have already been allowed to apply for the Expanded Outdoor Dining Program that would allow them to obtain permission to operate outdoors on streets and in parking lots during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city said effective immediately, bars and taverns that do not serve food can apply for the same program.

The expansion comes after the city rolled back some of its reopening measures, and in particular stopped allowing bars that do not serve food to operate with indoor seating.

Previously, bars that did not have a food license couldn't expand into the sidewalk. The alteration to the program allows them to set up sidewalk service. Their sidewalk space must be set up with six feet of pedestrian clearance, and service areas must be enclosed by a barrier like a sidewalk café, the city said.

Bars must also team up with a restaurant in order to provide food to their customers.

The city has put more information about the special expanded outdoor permit on their website.

They are also planning two webinars on August 5 at 11 a.m. and August 6 at 2 p.m. to help businesses navigate the permit. You can sign up for those webinars here.
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