Algonquin approves ordinance allowing restaurants to use right of way, parking lots for seating

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The Algonquin Village Board approved an ordinance this week allowing restaurants to use the right of way and parking lots for customer seating areas.

The village said the ordinance is intended to help support local businesses while following safety and social distancing requirements and staying in line with Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan.

Assistant Village Manager Mike Kumbera said outdoor seating is now publicly available, as the ordinance went into effect after being approved during a board meeting Tuesday.

Customers can go to a restaurant, get a meal for carryout and eat it in these designated seating areas. However, restaurants still cannot serve people outside.

Hours of operation for designated outdoor seating areas are limited from
7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and people will be allowed to use the space for up to an hour.

Kumbera said the board wanted to provide some alternatives to restaurants, as they will not be able to serve their regular capacity of customers inside for the near future.

According to minutes from the village’s Committee of the Whole meeting, this is a temporary ordinance to amend outdoor eating restrictions and areas, as well as a temporary amendment to its liquor code.

The amendment to the liquor code allows alcohol to be served in these outdoor seating areas as well.

However, the ordinance states that these initiatives may need to be withdrawn if they are abused or if there are violations of the governor’s executive order, such as gatherings of more than 10 people during Phase 2 of Restore Illinois, or if social distancing guidelines are not maintained.

The ordinance is benchmarked with the phases in the Restore Illinois plan, Kumbera said.

Each phase in the plan is designed to gradually bring the state out of quarantine. It divides Illinois into four health regions, which will move through the five phases independent of one another.

Currently, all four regions, including the one McHenry County is in, are on track to get to Phase 3 by May 29, when restaurants will be able to serve people outdoors.

Bars and restaurants across the state have been closed for dine-in service since March 16.

According to Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, businesses can open their doors again in Phase 4 of the five-phase plan.

Right now, the four health regions all are in Phase 2.

Earlier this month, the Woodstock City Council approved outdoor seating for restaurants on the historic Woodstock Square, and McHenry last week added outdoor seating for patrons in its downtown area.

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