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City Releases Outdoor Dining Guidelines For Fall And Winter Months

By Colby Smith

City Releases Outdoor Dining Guidelines For Fall And Winter Months

All outdoor spaces are required to have Expanded Outdoor Dining Permit, Sidewalk Café Permit, or Outdoor Patio License.

On Monday, the City of Chicago released its updated outdoor dining rules and guidelines for bars and restaurants for the coming fall and winter months. [Featured image via Shutterstock]

The Fall and Winter Covid-19 Outdoor Dining Guidance released by the City of Chicago is broken down into three categories pertaining to structure, heating devices, and safety considerations.

Structures

Last month, Chicago announced a city-wide contest asking its citizens to come up with ideas on how to encourage outdoor dining at restaurant during the colder times of the year. In anticipation of new inventive solutions, the guidelines released by the city regard the temporary outdoor structures under certain regulations that include:

  • 50% of structure’s siding open to air flow
  • mandatory Department of Buildings (DOB) permit for structures covering over 400-square feet
  • anchored weighted systems that forbid drilling, screwing or otherwise into sidewalks or streets
  • mandatory fire-resistant certification

Additionally, the city will permit plastic-dome-type systems, e.g. igloos, so long as they have sufficient air circulation. However, such structures may be prohibited or temporarily removed in the event of extreme weather.

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Heating Devices

While heating devices, electrically or otherwise, will without doubt be allowed in winter climates, bars and restaurants using such devices must abide by the following regulations:

  • including heating plans in permit submitted to city
  • using a licensed electrical contractor when installing electrically-powered heating devices, while identifying such devices as “UL listed” or “UL classified”
  • natural gas or propane-fueled devices use reserved for uncovered areas
  • unplugging heating equipment overnight
  • training staff in the use of heating equipment
  • required distance between structures and heating devices, a recommended three feet

Safety Considerations

General safety considerations include:

  • distancing heating devices from combustible structures and materials
  • clearly marked entrances and exits in enclosed areas using heating apparatuses
  • adequate number of fire extinguishers on premises
  • written plans for extreme weather
  • staff training for instances of extreme weather
  • mandatory reminders about transmission proclivity in indoor spaces in tents, domes, or other enclosed spaces.

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