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Cocktails to Go, Suspended Delinquency List, and License Fees, Chicago Reopening

Tuesday, June 2, 2020  
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The Illinois Restaurant Association continues to engage with local, state, and federal officials to help our employers and employees address concerns about COVID-19.

Please see the below resources and information for your business - updated as of 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday June 2.



Cocktails to Go, Suspended Retailer Delinquency List Legislation Signed into Law by Governor Pritzker



This afternoon, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that allows restaurants and bars to sell cocktails/mixed drinks to go in the state of Illinois.

Local municipalities may prohibit or further restrict the sales and delivery of “to go” mixed drinks/cocktails. Licensed retailers should contact the local liquor control commissioner prior to engaging the sales and delivery of “to go” mixed drinks/cocktails to ensure compliance with local laws. The city of Chicago is expected to take legislative action to approve cocktails to go at the city level at the next City Council meeting on Wednesday, June 17.

The IRA fully supports this legislation, and we commend Governor Pritzker and General Assembly for passing this pragmatic legislation that will benefit the hospitality industry across the state. We especially thank Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, Rep. Michael Zalewski, Rep. Ann Williams, and Rep. Kelly Cassidy for their advocacy on this issue. 

This legislation is the result of a groundswell of support generated by the Cocktails for Hope campaign founded by IRA member Julia Momose of Kumiko, as well as hundreds of IRA members that pushed for this legislative change.

Additionally, the legislation provides that:

  • All state liquor licenses are automatically extended through December 31, 2020.

  • No renewal fees or late fees will be charged until December 31, 2020 (Renewal fees will be charged if a licensee renews before December 31, 2020.)

  • Retail licensees shall not be deemed to be delinquent in payment until 30 days after the date on which the region in which the retail licensee is located enters Phase 4 of the Governor's Restore Illinois Plan (different state regions may enter Phase 4 at different times.)

Click here to read the law. Click here to read more from NBC Chicago.

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission has issued updated FAQs and guides on the below topics:


Senate Vote on PPP Fixes Imminent, Take Action


Last week, our voices were heard and the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill fixing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The Senate is poised to act on this bill in the coming days. But, if a single Senator objects, the Senate will have to spend days debating it before a roll call vote is allowed. That delay is too much for many of our nation’s restaurants struggling to make their PPP loans work for them.  

This bill makes critical fixes to the PPP program including:

  • greater flexibility in how a restaurant can use a PPP loan

  • longer time for a restaurant to use a PPP loan

  • improvements to the rehiring deadline to allow a PPP loan to be forgiven

We hope that with prompt fixes to PPP, our industry can emerge from these growing challenges and provide support for the country…one neighborhood at a time.

Our nation is in turmoil, and cities across the country are suffering. Our ask for your action today is not made lightly – we appreciate that many restaurants are the cornerstones of communities in conflict. We appreciate your actions, and the Illinois Restaurant Association stands with the calls for equality and justice. 

Click here to contact your Senators so that your voice can be heard.


Chicago Outdoor Dining Begins Tomorrow, FAQs


This afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot confirmed that outdoor dining at restaurants will be permitted to begin as scheduled starting tomorrow, Wednesday, June 3.

As of this afternoon, the city of Chicago's curfew hours of 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. are still in effect until further notice. Take out, drive thru and carry out are not permitted during these times.

Read more:

Starting tomorrow, restaurants and coffee shops are permitted to open for outdoor dining only with specific safety guidelines. This includes seating areas that are fully outdoors, in addition to:

  • Rooftops

  • Rooms with retractable roofs

  • Indoor spaces where 50% or more of a wall can be removed via the opening of windows, doors, or panels, provided that dining tables are within 8 feet from such openings

Click here to review the FAQ on outdoor dining and sidewalk cafes.

Click here to download the full Phase III outdoor dining guidelines for restaurants.

Last night, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events released a new Expanded Outdoor Dining permit application created specifically for temporary Phase 3 (Cautiously Reopen) outdoor dining. Click here to learn more. Click here to review the FAQ on the Expanded Outdoor Dining permit.


Illinois Restaurant Promise - Download the Poster



In partnership with the IRA and health officials across the state, restaurant owners and operators make these commitments to earn this endorsement during the COVID-19 recovery period. 

When customers see this endorsement, they can be comfortable that the restaurant is taking all necessary steps to protect their employees and customers and is committed to playing a leadership role in protecting our communities.

Click here to download the poster for your establishments.


City of Chicago Business Self-Certification for Reopening



The city of Chicago has developed a new self-certification program for businesses that plan to reopen. Employers are highly encouraged to indicate their ability to comply with the city's standards by completing the self-certification process.

Click here to read more and take the self-certification.


State of Illinois Reopening Guidance in Spanish



The state of Illinois has published guidelines in Spanish for the reopening of outdoor dining across the state during Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan.

The document specifies: the eating and drinking establishments who may operate in this capacity, party size limitations, operational procedures for seating, menus and service standards, and – at the cornerstone – recommended enhanced health and safety measures to protect public well-being. Operators must also look to their local municipalities and health departments for further guidance.

Click here to read the guidance in Spanish.


City of Chicago Issues Additional Tax Relief for Businesses


To further help reduce the financial impact of Covid-19 on taxpayers, tax payment due dates for the periods July 2019 through September 2020 have been extended for the following taxes as indicated below:

Amusement tax (7510, 7510R, 7511), Bottled Water tax (1904), Checkout Bag tax (2737), Ground Transportation tax (7595), Hotel Accommodations tax (7520, 7520S), Parking tax (7530, 7530V), and Restaurant tax (7525)

In addition, the filing deadline for 2020 annual tax returns has been extended from August 17, 2020 to October 15, 2020.

Click here to learn more.


Thursday Webinar - Safety Considerations for Scaling UP



Join the IRA and the University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Consumer & Environmental Sciences, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) Thursday, June 4 at 10:00 a.m. (Central) for the second part of our Scaling UP webinar series focusing on safety considerations. This webinar will provide guidance on disinfecting and approaches for providing an exceptional customer experience under new operational practices.

Click here to register.

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