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City of Chicago Business Affairs & Consumer Protection, Reopening of Chicago.

June 12, 2020 Dear Chicagoan, As we continue with the cautious reopening of Chicago during phase three, I want to provide an update on a series of items related to restaurants. The City is committed to getting restaurants operating with outside dining as quickly as possible to take advantage of the options now available. This email provides an important update for retail food establishments looking to operate outdoors during phase three. If you have not done so already, please read the Food Service Guidelines which can be found at As a reminder, only businesses with a Retail Food Establishment License may reopen for outdoor dining in phase three. Please also read the Outdoor Dining FAQ for an overview of all outdoor dining options and how to apply. To help inform restaurants as they work to reopen, we will be holding two webinars next week on outdoor dining- Wednesday, June 17 at 2:00 pm and Thursday, June 18 at 10:00 am. To learn more and register, visit Pending Sidewalk Café Permit Reforms Yesterday, Mayor Lightfoot introduced legislation that will make outdoor dining quicker, easier and cheaper in Chicago. This law will be considered by City Council on Wednesday, June 17 – it has not passed City Council and these measures are still considered pending: 1. Reduction in Fee Under the proposal, permit fees for 2020 sidewalk cafes would be reduced by 75%. BACP would issue refunds for any permits issued in 2020. 2. Extended Sidewalk Cafes Under the proposed ordinance, sidewalk cafes would be able to extend into the public way in front of a neighboring property. Limitations on the extension include:

  • The extended sidewalk café must continue uninterrupted and cannot block the windows of an occupied neighboring property, nor any door

  • Extended sidewalk cafes cannot extend into the public way in front of a neighboring Retail Food Establishment or Retail Liquor Establishment

  • Extended sidewalk cafes are limited to a single neighboring property

  • If an extended sidewalk café is on the property side of the sidewalk, the applicant must notify the owner and occupant of the neighboring property in writing and include that notice in their application. No such notice is required if the sidewalk café is on the curb side of the sidewalk.

  • Insurance coverage must be submitted to include the entire footprint of the extended sidewalk cafe

3. Expedited Permit Issuance Under the proposed ordinance, sidewalk café permits would be able to be issued without needing to be introduced as an ordinance to City Council.

  • Applicants would still submit their application initially to the local alderman for review

  • After submission of a complete application, permits can be issued directly by BACP

  • This will reduce the time to issue permits by up to 30 days

Again, these measures will be considered by City Council on Wednesday, June 17 and are not currently in place. Please click here for more information, including how to apply. This website will be updated if and when the legislation passes. Expanded Outdoor Dining Permit We understand that sidewalk cafes are not an option for all restaurants. As such, the City has created the Expanded Outdoor Dining Permit, which is processed by multiple City departments, including the Chicago Department of Transportation and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. This permit allows establishments with valid Retail Food Establishment Licenses to apply for temporarily expand operations into the street or other private property (i.e. parking lots). Applications for street closure must be submitted by chambers, Special Service Area agencies, business service organizations or a group of three or more restaurants. Individual restaurants with their own parking lots may apply by themselves to expand into their own or a nearby private lot Please read the Frequently Asked Questions and click here for more information, including how to apply. Cocktails To-Go On Monday, June 8, 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 for an overview of the proposed ordinance. Again, this legislation will be considered by City Council next week and the sale of to-go cocktails is currently not allowed in Chicago. Hours of Liquor Sales As a reminder, under the amended and reissued Public Health Order 2020-05, all liquor sales for on-premises consumption must cease at 11:00 pm. All liquor sales of packaged goods for off-premises consumption, via delivery or carry-out, must cease at 9:00 pm. Please read the industry notice and download the required posting for more information. As businesses throughout the city work to cautiously reopen, we will continue to work hard to support our business community. My team is here to answer your questions and guide you through phase three. Please feel free to reply to this email with any questions and we will work to get you answers. We are committed to supporting all businesses during this challenging time. Sincerely, Rosa Escareno BACP Commissioner


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