Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) have released guidelines for the reopening of outdoor dining across the state during Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan. Click here to read the full announcement.

Click here to download the guidelines in Spanish.

“The outdoor operational guidelines provided by Governor Pritzker and his team prioritize health and safety while allowing our state’s eating and drinking establishments to start bringing their team members back to work,” said IRA President & CEO Sam Toia. “We are pleased to see Phase 3 outdoor guidelines extend to a range of food and beverage service providers, and while we recognize this is not a solution for every business, we are encouraged by the creative plans in progress by local municipalities to implement measures that will help broaden the opportunities. This is one step forward in getting our restaurants and bars open in a safe, measured way while allowing diners to come back to the places and experiences they’ve missed.”

The document specifies: the eating and drinking establishments who may operate in this capacity, party size limitations, operational procedures for seating, menus and service standards, and – at the cornerstone – recommended enhanced health and safety measures to protect public well-being.

For the purposes of these guidelines, a dining or drinking area is considered an outdoor dining or drinking area if the area meets any of the following criteria:
  1. Located on the rooftop of a building or within establishment with retractable roof (should remain open during hours of operation of outdoor dining and/or drinking); or
  2. Outdoor space connected to or located on the site of a restaurant, grocery store, health or fitness center, hotel, golf club, or other social club with a food establishment license; or
  3. Indoor space where 50% or more of a wall can be removed via the opening of windows, doors, or panels provided that dining tables are within 8-ft from such opening; or
  4. Any other outdoor dining and drinking areas authorized by local governments provided that food and drinks are prepared by licensed food or liquor establishments and that proper social distancing of 6-ft between designated customer tables and/or other seating areas is observed and parties are of 6 persons or fewer

Operators must also look to their local municipalities and health departments for further guidance.