JUNE 15, 2020

City of Chicago Announces Bars Can Re-Open Wednesday, June 17

Mayor Lightfoot announced that, beginning Wednesday, June 17, bars, lounges, taverns, breweries and other drinking establishments that sell alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food License will be able to open for outdoor service only. Liquor establishments that are reopening must follow the industry guidelines, which includes health and safety restrictions similar to those that restaurants have been following since June 3, including the same requirements for outdoor service only.

  • Face coverings should be worn by all employees and customers, except when they are seated and eating or drinking
  • Patrons must be seated at tables that are six feet apart
  • Six people or fewer per table
  • Seating at establishments without a Retail Food License will be limited to a maximum of two hours
  • Alcohol sales at bars and restaurants for on-site consumption must end at 11:00 p.m. each night
  • Alcohol sales for carryout or delivery must cease at 9:00 p.m. each night 

Retail liquor establishments are encouraged to offer pre-packaged food or partner with restaurants, food trucks or other establishments to provide food to patrons. Establishments may reopen outdoor areas, including outdoor patios, rooftops, rooms with retractable roofs and indoor spaces where 50% or more of a wall can be removed via the opening of windows, doors, or panels provided that dining tables are within eight feet from such openings.

Establishments with a Tavern License are eligible for an Expanded Outdoor Dining Permit through which they can expand into private property, including parking lots. These establishments may also participate in the City’s “Our Streets” plan to close streets for outdoor food and beverage service. Applications for street closure must be submitted by chambers, Special Service Area agencies, business service organizations or three or more establishments. At least 50% of participating establishments must serve food.

To learn more about reopening, please read the industry guidelines and check out BACP’s updated Outdoor Dining and Drinking FAQ. Establishments are encouraged to take the Phase Three Self-Certification Pledge to show that you are meeting or exceeding the guidelines for reopening. As bars reopen, we encourage everyone to sign up for the new CHIBIZ Emergency Alerts program for targeted emergency alerts for the business community. If you are interested, please text “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3 or visit chicago.gov/chibizalerts.

Additionally, BACP will be holding two webinars this week titled “Operating Outdoors: Options for Restaurants and Bars during Phase Three.” These webinars will cover rules and guidelines for outdoor dining and drinking, including how to obtain the new Expanded Outdoor Dining Permit. Webinars will be held on Wednesday, June 17 at 2:00 pm and Thursday, June 18 at 10:00 am. Register and learn more at chicago.gov/businessworkshops.

Finally, please be advised that last week Mayor Lightfoot introduced legislation to temporarily legalize to-go cocktails in Chicago. This measure will be considered by City Council on Wednesday, June 17 – it has not passed City Council and should be considered pending. Under the proposal, the sale of cocktails to-go would be legalized with strict regulations to ensure safety and responsibility. Click here to learn more. Again, this legislation will be considered by City Council this Wednesday and the sale of to-go cocktails is currently not allowed in Chicago.

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