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Chicago bars and breweries can open outdoor seating beginning June 17

Local watering holes get the green light to reopen patios and rooftops this week.

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced today that bars, lounges, taverns and breweries will be able to reopen outdoor seating on Wednesday, June 17—exactly two weeks after restaurants were allowed to reopen for alfresco dining.

Though bars that serve food were previously able to reopen alongside restaurants on June 3, this new development includes drinking establishments that don't have a retail food license. Bars will be held to the same safety guidelines and restaurants, including spacing tables 6 feet apart and not allowing groups that exceed six people. If you do decide to visit your favorite bar's patio or rooftop, your stay will be limited to a maximum of two hours. Restaurants and bars must stop selling alcohol for on-site consumption by 11pm each night, and carryout and delivery of booze must cease at 9pm each night.

Bar owners are also being encouraged to team up with restaurants and food trucks to provide food to their guests during their two-hour stay. Plus, bars and breweries will be eligible to participating in the city's "Our Streets" program, permitting seating to overflow into certain Chicago streets for the foreseeable future.

"As we continue to cautiously reopen our businesses, it is critical that we keep the health and safety of our residents as our top priority," said Rosa Escareno, commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. "We are excited to begin reopening Chicago’s bars, taverns and breweries and we look forward to continuing our efforts to support and educate all of Chicago’s businesses."

The decision to give bars the green light was "based on the continued positive trend in the data metrics monitored by CDPH over the past several weeks," according to a press release from the city of Chicago. "June 17 was chosen as it is two weeks from the beginning of phase three and the incubation period for COVID-19 is thought to extend to 14 days."

As Chicago inches closer to a semi-normal summer that includes outings to your favorite rooftop bar, don't forget to wear your mask and stay home if you're feeling unwell.

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