New Opening Dates for Bars, Breweries, and the Lakefront Trail

Mayor Lightfoot, alongside several City departments including the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection(BACP), and the Chicago Park District, has announced that the reopening dates for bars and breweries will be on June 17th, and the opening of the Lakefront Trail will be on June 22nd.

Beginning Wednesday, June 17th, bars, lounges, taverns, breweries and other drinking establishments that sell alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food License will be able to open for outdoor service only. Under the industry guidelines, drinking establishments may reopen under similar health and safety restrictions that restaurants have been following since June 3rd, including the same requirements for outdoor service only.

Patrons must be seated at tables that are six feet apart, with six people or fewer per table. Furthermore, seating at drinking establishments will be limited to a maximum of two hours. Finally, alcohol sales at bars and restaurants for on-site consumption must end at 11:00 pm each night, however the sale of alcohol for carryout or delivery must cease at 9:00 pm each night. The decision to further re-open was based on the continued positive trend in the data metrics monitored by CDPH over the past several weeks. June 17th was chosen as it is two weeks from the beginning of phase three and the incubation period for COVID-19 is thought to extend to 14 days.

Bars may reopen outdoor areas, including outdoor patios, rooftops, rooms with retractable roofs and indoor spaces where 50% or more of a wall can be removed via the opening of windows, doors, or panels provided that dining tables are within eight feet from such openings. Additionally, establishments with a Tavern License are eligible for an Expanded Outdoor Dining Permit through which they can expand into private property, including parking lots. Finally, bars and breweries may also participate in the City’s “Our Streets” plan to close streets for outdoor food and beverage service. Applications for street closure must be submitted by chambers, Special Service Area agencies, business service organizations or three or more restaurants.

Beginning Monday, June 22nd, the Lakefront Trail will open East of Lake Shore Drive from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm daily, however beaches and parks East of Lake Shore Drive will remain closed. The 18-mile Lakefront Trail will be open for exercise and transit only. No other recreational activities will be allowed. Chicagoans must abide by a “keep it moving” strategy where only walking, running, biking, and rollerblading will be allowed.

At this time, the Chicago Park District will not allow congregating, gathering or use of park amenities, which includes but is not limited to, stationary activities, fitness classes, barbecues, beaches, and picnicking. To monitor and control volume, only approximately half of the more than 50 access points (street, underpass, bridges) to the Lakefront will be open. Park Security will work in tandem with the Chicago Police Department and Office of Emergency Management and Communication to keep the trail safe under guidance from public health officials.

To encourage proper use, the Chicago Park District will install visible signage along the trail to educate and remind trail users of rules. In addition, Social Distancing Ambassadors will be stationed along the trail to educate the public and manage the flow of traffic. Ambassadors will actively engage park patrons providing guidance on appropriate social distancing, the importance of face coverings as well as other health and safety guidelines.  Chicago’s swimming pools and playgrounds will remain closed while public health officials advise the Chicago Park District on options to open them safely. There will also be no use of outdoor fitness equipment, basketball courts, tennis courts or athletic fields, and parking lots will remain closed for the time being. Due to the significant lakefront storm damage and high lake levels, three sections of the lakefront trail will merge to accommodate users. From Fullerton to North Avenue will be a shared trail. North Avenue to Ohio Street, trail users will be redirected to an on-street detour. From 43rd Street to 51st Street, users will merge onto one trail.

Additional signage and SDA resources will be implemented along both stretches to ensure social distancing. The Park District will notify users as construction projects are completed in those sections and normal trail use is restored. Chicago moved into phase three of its “Protecting Chicago” reopening framework on June 3rd, but the City is emphasizing that cautiously reopening still requires strict physical distancing even though it allows for some industries to reopen.

All residents must continue to abide by important guidance in phase three, including: physically distancing and wearing a face covering; limiting non-business, social gatherings to 10 or fewer persons; staying at home if you feel ill or have come into contact with someone with COVID-19; and getting tested if you have symptoms.

Source:  Alderman Hopkins 2nd Ward Newsletter 6/15/2020