Restaurants: Tips for Safe Outdoor Dining in Chicago During COVID-19

outdoor dining in chicago

Re-opening a restaurant or business in Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic comes with tips and guidelines that ensure a safe outdoor dining experience in Chicago for customers and employees. Fortunately, the warm summer temperatures can make the experience even more pleasant—or even more unbearable when it becomes extremely hot.

Of course, every restaurant has to establish a system that works for them and their customers. This list of tips can guide restaurants in Chicago as they set up a safe and healthy outdoor dining system.

Outdoor Dining Checklist (With Social Distancing)

___ Tent (or other cover to protect customers)

___ Tables

___ Chairs

___ Velvet Ropes (to maintain flow)

___ Markings (to maintain social distancing)

___ Table/Counter (for hand sanitizing station)

___ Hand Sanitizing Supplies

___ Sneeze Guards (for counters where employees and customers interact)

___ Personal Protective Equipment (i.e. masks, gloves, etc.)

___ Screening Equipment (for employee checks before coming to work)

___ Cooling Equipment (to maintain adequate ventilation)

___ Lighting (if open during evening hours)

Tips for Healthy Outdoor Dining

  • Contact a Chicago tent rental company for tents that won’t damage the surface of a patio, rooftop, or road.
  • Set up a touchless ordering and payment process.
  • Determine a safe capacity within the tent.
  • Design the outdoor dining area to minimize entry points and maintain flow.
  • Choose tables and chairs that can be easily be disinfected.
  • Follow CDC guidelines for disinfecting surfaces.
  • Always use disinfectants according to product directions.
  • Never mix disinfecting products.
  • Minimize seating at all tables.
  • Establish a regular disinfecting system so regularly touched areas are cleaned (especially tables and chairs after each party leaves).
  • Train all employees in sanitizing.
  • Prove personal protective equipment for employees sanitizing.
  • Position all tables so there is adequate spacing for social distancing.
  • Determine an alternate system for condiment stations, which should not be at customer tables.
  • If there is an ordering counter, install sneeze guards to protect customers and employees.
  • Establishing a hand washing and sanitizing station.
  • Contact local agencies and municipalities for additional guidance and requirements.
  • Take steps to ensure that the area is well ventilated and cool for customer comfort.
  • If open during evening hours, consider adding lighting for customers and staff.

Restaurants Open with Outdoor Dining

*This list is current as of June 4.

Resources for Restaurants Reopening

Illinois Restaurant Association List of Resources

Illinois Restaurant Association Phase III Information

Center for Disease Control Reopening Guidelines

Center for Disease Control Disinfecting and Sanitizing Tips

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