A proposed ordinance aims to change the permitting process for outdoor dining at restaurants in Chicago as eateries across the city fight to survive during a phased reopening plan.
Currently, Chicago is in phase three of its reopening, which allows only carryout, takeout or outdoor dining at restaurants.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced a proposal that would "remove regulatory burdens and provide financial relief to restaurants seeking to operate outdoors during phase three."
"The City’s Sidewalk Café permits have long been an option for restaurants looking to operate on the sidewalk directly in front of or adjacent to their establishment, and today’s proposed ordinance is designed to make it easier than ever to acquire this permit," the mayor's office said in a relief.
Under the proposed guidelines, fees for sidewalk cafe permits would be lowered by 75%, boundary limitations would be eased and the permit process would be expedited.
Already, the city has announced a pilot program that will close down streets in popular strips to offer more room for seating. A street in Lakeview will be the first to test the move Friday.