Chicago Makes More Space for Outdoor Dining

As Chicago settles into Phase 4 of reopening, the city continues to work on ways to support the restaurant community with the Expanded Outdoor Dining pilot program. This pilot program was developed as a way for Chicago residents to safely enjoy restaurants and other businesses while respecting social distancing protocols. 

“This vision to reimagine some of Chicago’s residential streets and key restaurant corridors allows for increased social distancing and adherence to public health guidance as we begin the gradual reopening of our great city. In the coming days and weeks, I look forward to expanding these pilot projects citywide with input from the public and local stakeholders,” said Mayor Lightfoot. Currently, there are six streets that will allow restaurants to create additional outdoor seating to accommodate more diners while respecting the city’s guidelines for dealing with COVID-19. 

The following streets are participating in the street closure program to assist with outdoor dining allotment:

  • 5th Street from Calumet to Indiana Avenues in Chatham
  • 26th Street from Central Park to Harding Avenues in Little Village
  • Taylor Street from Loomis Street to Ashland Avenue on the Near West Side
  • Randolph Street from I-90/94 no further west than Elizabeth Street in the West Loop
  • Rush Street from Oak to Cedar streets in the Rush and Division area of the Gold Coast
  • Broadway from Belmont to Diversey avenues in Lakeview

There are plans to make additional city streets a part of the closure program. However, the timeline is unclear when this will occur. The city is accepting applications from restaurants that do not have outdoor seating that would like to participate. 

Optimism and a sense of a new normal seem to be what residents and businesses need in a time of uncertainty. “Reimagining the use of our streets ensures that we can bring businesses and neighborhoods back stronger and more connected than ever before,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. The Expanded Outdoor Dining program helps Chicago to prepare itself for Phase IV of reopening, expected to occur June 26th.


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