Homewood residents will soon be allowed to help local businesses and enjoy a meal or a drink outside after the village board approved a measure Tuesday to regulate outdoor seating areas.
Governor J.B. Pritzker is allowing some businesses to serve food and drinks outdoors beginning Friday, May 29. Homewood needed an ordinance to facilitate that.
“It’s in the best interest of restaurants and their customers that we establish precautions to protect the safety of customers and employees when dining outdoors,” Finance Director Dennis Bubenik said in village documents.
Homewood Attorney Chris Cummings, along with village staff, examined how other towns handle outdoor seating and considered possible insurance implications and other issues.
Outdoor liquor license requirements will be postponed until Nov. 1. Seating areas will include existing outdoor areas and temporarily-expanded space with village approval and the property owner’s written consent.
Restaurants and bars looking to expand temporary outdoor seating need to submit a diagram to the village. Access to American Disabilities Act parking spaces can’t be impeded.
The areas need to be open-air, with no walls, but can have overhead coverings or awnings. Smoking is prohibited.
Tables need to be at least six feet apart. Chairs without tables also need to allow for that distance but outdoor bars are not allowed. Open liquor containers cannot leave the serving area.
Indoor areas are still closed for public use, with the exception of restrooms and take out order pickup. Employees have to adhere to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, including wearing personal protective equipment.
Groups are limited to 10 or fewer and outdoor areas mustn’t disturb neighbors or other occupants of the property.