City bars can start serv­ing cus­tomers out­side — even if they don’t serve food

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY EM­MANUEL CAMARILLO, CST WIRE RE­PORTER eca­mar­illo@sun­times.com | @man­ny­cam

Bars that had been closed again to in­door ser­vice af­ter a surge of the coro­n­avirus among young peo­ple have got­ten a lit­tle help from the city of Chicago.

New guide­lines an­nounced Fri­day will make it a lit­tle eas­ier for bars and tav­erns that don’t serve food to set up places for cus­tomers to drink out­side.

As of Fri­day, busi­nesses that serve al­co­hol with­out a re­tail food li­cense may ap­ply to tem­po­rar­ily op­er­ate on their front side­walk through an ex­pan­sion of the city’s out­door din­ing pro­gram, the mayor’s of­fice an­nounced.

Liquor-only es­tab­lish­ments must iden­tify a “part­ner food es­tab­lish­ment” to en­sure cus­tomers can or­der food to eat at the bar, the mayor’s of­fice said. The out­door spa­ces must also al­low 6 feet of room for pedes­tri­ans to get by on the side­walk. That seat­ing area also must be sur­rounded by some sort of bar­rier.

Restau­rants and bars can now also ap­ply for an “ex­panded out­door din­ing per­mit” to serve cus­tomers in pa­tios, court­yards and ter­races, places that would typ­i­cally re­quire own­ers to ap­ply for an out­door pa­tio li­cense.

In June, the city al­lowed bars to re­open to serv­ing cus­tomers in open-air set­tings. Then, on June 26, in­door cus­tomers were again al­lowed in restau­rants and bars, with a limit on ca­pac­ity.

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