'Outdoor dining is here to stay': Chicago City Council approves long-term outdoor dining program

The Chicago City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday that will establish a long-term version of the city's Expanded Outdoor Dining program.

The ordinance was introduced last week by Mayor Brandon Johnson.

The ordinance will create legal means for restaurants and bars to continue operating on the roadway in front of, or adjacent to, their establishments.

"With the passage of this ordinance, outdoor dining is here to stay in Chicago," said Mayor Johnson. "Enabling restaurants and bars to offer outdoor dining in the warmer months is not only crucial to their bottom lines and ability to support more jobs, but it is also a practice that Chicagoans have come to expect and deeply appreciate. Sitting at a sidewalk café or dining on the street in front of a local restaurant allows us to take in the soul of a neighborhood as we enjoy a meal or a drink with friends and family. I’m proud of the work so many individuals in my administration put in to get this done." 

Restaurants are also permitted to operate in curb lanes adjacent to their premises in order to improve accessibility. 


Full street closures are still permitted for groups of three or more businesses. Those permits are valid from May 1 through October 31 on an annual basis. All establishments will be required to comply with the program's rules and regulations. 

The Small Business Advocacy Council released the following statement in response to the approval of the ordinance: 

"The Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC) is excited and thankful that Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago City Council worked quickly to pass an ordinance to establish an Expanded Outdoor Dining program to support Chicago restaurants and taverns. This ordinance will allow restaurants to expand and maximize outdoor dining from May 1 through October 31. Chicagoans love to eat outdoors! The passage of this ordinance will support restaurants, small businesses located near restaurants, and neighborhood business districts throughout Chicago."