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