CHICAGO (CBS) — The State of Illinois was all set to move to Phase 3 of its reopening plan on Friday as figures improve during the coronavirus pandemic.
That means restaurants outside of Chicago can begin offering outdoor dining, but restaurants in Chicago not.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, the option of being back in business Friday depended on a matter of feet along Howard Street, which serves as the boundary between Chicago and Evanston from Kedzie Avenue to the Red Line terminal.
Restaurant owners on the Evanston side of Howard Street were busy Thursday night making arrangements of the reopening Friday. But on the Chicago side, takeout and delivery remain the only options for a little longer.
Good To Go Jamaican Cuisine is located at 711 Howard St. in Evanston – an address located across the street from 2003 W. Howard St. In Chicago.
“We would have not had this opportunity on the Chicago side,” said Good to Go’s Lenice Levy.
On Thursday night, Levy’s staff was setting up their outside patio. Tables are spaced six feet apart in accordance with state rules.
“I’m cautiously excited,” Levy said.
Service will begin again Friday under Phase 3 of the states re-opening plan.
At Evanston’s Firehouse Grill, a little farther north at 750 Chicago Ave. — Clark Street to Chicagoans — the locks were also coming off for dining out.
“There’s a lot to do between today and tomorrow,” said owner Pat Fowler.
While Fowler was prepping and already filling up tables for Friday at the Firehouse Grill, his other nearby restaurant, Candlelite, is located in Chicago at 7452 N. Western Ave. –- Asbury Avenue to Evanstonians. Thus, nothing new is happening there.
It will not be open Friday, as the city does not start outside seating until next week
“On one side of the street, we can reopen. On the other side we can’t really do anything,” Fowler said.
Under the state rules, staff at restaurants must be wearing masks and gloves.
Restaurants opening up on Friday will also be taking a number of safety precautions to promote social distancing. So it is definitely going to look a lot different.
But for the first time in a while, people now have a new option to grab a bite.