Andersonville, Chinatown, Edison Park, Grand Crossing, and Little Italy areas will close off streets for bars and restaurants to open for patio dining.
While the city is set to move in to Phase 4 of its reopening plan this Friday, which will include reopening indoor dining at bars and restaurants at 25% capacity, it’s Make Way For Diners program will nonetheless continue in a further effort to help struggling local bars and restaurants to recoup revenue lost over the past months.
In late May, the city announced that it would be shutting off six streets at certain hours to allow bars and restaurants open for patio dining; however, it wasn’t until last weekend that the city launched the first phase of the program, Make Way for Diners, in Lakeview but shutting off Broadview Street from through traffic so that customers could dine al fresco while abiding by necessary social distancing regulations.
“The expanded outdoor dining program will close streets and utilize the public way to allow local businesses to establish operations outdoors. The City worked in close coordination with local Aldermen, businesses and chambers of commerce to tailor operations of the expansion to best meet the needs of businesses,” read a press release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office.
The five streets to be closed off this weekend include:
- Balmoral Street – closed on both sides of North Clark
- Chinatown Square – adjacent to Archer Avenue from Wentworth to Princeton
- Taylor Street – closed from Loomis to Ashland
- Oliphant Avenue – closed from Northwest Highway to the first alley to the North
- 75th Street – sidewalk dining areas from Indiana to Calumet
Furthermore, the city has granted businesses permission to utilize 30 parking lots for the same purpose. The permits granted by the city are effective immediately, and will remain in place for up to 180 days.
“We are thrilled to be taking this exciting next step in Chicago’s outdoor dining program following the emphatic success of our initial three pilot streets,” Lightfoot said.
“Our city’s small and local businesses make up the fabric of our beloved neighborhoods, as well as represent the backbone of our economy, and thanks to this program, many of them will be able to safely welcome more customers, bring employees back to work, and recover from the shock of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Additionally, the city plans to ramp up the number of Sidewalk Cafe permits by reducing permit fees by 75% — businesses that have already applied will receive refunds — extend boundaries of Sidewalk Café, and expedite the process by nixing the requirement that mandates that businesses must submit their application to the City Council before issuance. The latter would reduce the 30-day process delay.
“As we move forward into phase four of our reopening framework, we hope to continue to expand this program even further and allow all of Chicago’s businesses to thrive,” Lightfoot said.
[Featured image: @edisonparkchicago]