The city announced an expansion of the Expanded Outdoor Dining Program that will allow bars and taverns to serve liquor on front sidewalks, and all bars and restaurants to serve in outdoor areas that would typically require an Outdoor Patio License.

The permits previously only allowed temporary outdoor operation on private property or on closed streets; bars could not expand onto sidewalks, an option only available to restaurants with a sidewalk permit. In response to rising COVID-19 rates, the city banned the indoor operation of bars earlier this month.

Now, bars and restaurants can use the Expanded Outdoor Dining Permit to operate temporarily in locations that would typically require the permanent Outdoor Patio License.

The sidewalk space utilized by bars and taverns must be set up with six feet of pedestrian clearance remaining, and service areas must be enclosed by a barrier, similar to sidewalk cafes. Furthermore, liquor establishments must identify a partner food establishment to ensure that food is available for patrons.

Applications are available online. The city is holding webinars on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 11 a.m. and Thursday, Aug. 6. at 2 p.m., at chicago.gov/businessworkshops.

“Our innovative Outdoor Dining Program has already helped more than 250 restaurants and bars in our communities, and now by expanding our efforts to better support our bars impacted by these new restrictions, we are providing a lifeline to hundreds of local establishments across Chicago’s neighborhoods,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a statement.

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