Pritzker says bars, restaurants can reopen with outdoor seating in Phase 3

Chronicle Media

Under Phase 3 pf the Restore Illinois plan, bars and restaurant will be able to open with outdoor seating in accordance with public heatlh guidelines on social distancing. (Credit: Illinois Restaurant Association)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced updates to Phase 3 of the state’s Restore Illinois plan on Wednesday, May 20 and some of those updates include allowing bars and restaurants to have outdoor seating.

“We are by no means out of the woods, but directionally, things are getting better. And because of these advances, we are able to make some modifications to allow more activity during Phase 3 of our reopening plan Restore Illinois,” said Pritzker. “Our mission has always been to get people back to work, get students back to school and return to as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing the health and safety of Illinoisans.”

In the coming days, the state and the Illinois Department of Public Health will be issuing formal industry-specific guidance, particularly around workplaces and childcare, for business owners and employees in these and other sectors.

With Phase 3, bars and restaurants will have the option to resume operations for outdoor seating only. Tables must be six feet apart and away from the sidewalks, masks and distancing measures for staff must continue to be followed, and other precautions and guidance will be issued.

These measures will allow restaurants to re-open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities, while giving the state’s hospitality industry a much-needed boost.

The Pritzker administration is encouraging municipalities to help restaurants and bars expand their outdoor seating options.

“The Governor’s action to allow for expanded outdoor dining options will benefit many restaurants at a time when every dollar counts and provides a glimmer of light at the end of this long, COVID-19 tunnel. Innovative outdoor dining strategies extend a lifeline – restoring jobs and offering guests the hospitality experience they’ve been missing while prioritizing public health and safety. Outdoor dining will not help every restaurant, but it is a constructive step in the right direction, “said Sam Toia, president & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association.

As part of the Phase 3 of reopening the state, all Illinois State Parks will reopen on May 29. (Credit: Illinois Department of Natural Resources)

To date, the administration has delivered over $14 million in small business grants averaging $20,000 to 699 bars, restaurants, and hotels across 270 individual cities in Illinois.

Also included in Phase 3 is the reopening of all state parks on May 29.  All concessions will reopen as well under guidelines set for our retail and food service businesses in Phase 3.

Illinois will permit the re-opening of indoor and outdoor tennis facilities with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits.

Golf courses can allow foursomes out on the same tee times. Carts will also be permitted with one person per cart, or one immediate household per cart.

With the new 10-person gathering limit for all activities in Phase 3, boating or camping with up to 10 people will be permitted.

The state will be providing guidance on how other outdoor recreational businesses, such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, and paintball courses can safely open their doors in Phase 3.

As far as health clubs, gyms, and fitness studios are concerned, they can provide one-on-one personal training in indoor facilities and outdoor fitness classes of up to 10 people.

Personal care services, like nail salons, tattoo shops, hair braiders, spas and barbershops, can open with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits.

And all retail stores can open their doors to in-person shopping with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits in place.

Local governments retain the right to establish stricter restrictions in any areas.