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Peoria City/County puts forth draft guidance for outdoor restaurant, bar space

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Ahead of the third phase of the Restore Illinois put out by Governor JB Pritzker, the City of Peoria and Peoria County put out draft guidance for restaurants and bar owners who want to begin opening up for outdoor dining. Final documents will be posted next week.

"These would be standards our restaurants could follow that if they could meet that, they would have no requirement to come in and provide any kind of permitting for the city or come in and get a permit, they would just simply be allowed to move forward and do this." said City Manager Patrick Urich

Pending approval from the Peoria City Council and county board, the guidance would involve three different situations for restaurants and bars once May 29th comes:

  1. Expanding outdoor seating on private property - (for more information, email communitydevelopment@peoriagov.org)
  2. Restaurants using the public sidewalk - (for more information, email vhernandez@peoriagov.org)
  3. Restaurants using public streets or public land- (for more information, email vhernandez@peoriagov.org)

"We want to make sure that you've submitted a liability waiver just so you're holding the city harmless in case something happens on the city street, that you are making sure there is an accessible four foot route for pedestrians to pass in front of your restaurant and you are cleaning and maintaining the area out in front of your business." said Urich

They've outlined operational hours, necessary boundaries, and said that establishments with existing liquor licenses will be allowed to sell alcohol in the outdoor area as long as they notify the city or county clerk.

But they're still waiting for guidance from the state on table spacing, capacity, masks, and cleaning regimens.

In the end self enforcement may be the key.

"I don't think anybody wants this to create that spike that we might see or a new surge or a new having to go back," said health department administrator Monica Hendrickson. "So I think there's going to be a lot of self-policing and voluntary compliance because we recognize that's the way the entire community can move forward."

These specific guidelines are only for the city of Peoria and unincorporated parts of Peoria County. Each municipality has to create their own guidelines.

Kaitlin Pearson

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