Illinois Restaurants Can Reopen for Outdoor Dining on May 29

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Illinois Restaurants Can Reopen for Outdoor Dining on May 29

First posted by Eater Chicago on May 20, 2020

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday that the state will now allow dine-in restaurants to serve customers on back patios as early as May 29. This represents a victory for the Illinois Restaurant Association, which has been lobbying Pritzker to allow restaurants to reopen earlier than the previously announced June 26 target date set by the government (dine-in restaurants have been closed in Illinois since March 17). Pritzker said any open patio seating will have to be away from sidewalks. Rooftop patios may also benefit.

These dates are subject to health benchmarks which the Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking online. Currently, the entire state, including Chicago, is on track to hit those targets, Pritzker said. The governor, speaking from Springfield, said that summer offers restaurant owners an opportunity. Health experts feel outdoor dining is safer and have given the state the okay to expand its plan to “bring back more activities faster as long as Illinoisans have been doing what we have been doing.” 

“The governor’s announcement provides a glimmer of light at the end of this very dark tunnel,” Illinois Restaurant Association CEO and President Sam Toia said.