CHICAGO (CBS) — After weeks of back and forth, Mayor Lori Lightfoot cleared Chicago’s bars and breweries to open on Wednesday for outdoor service.
But CBS 2’s Tara Molina has learned that just because the bars and breweries are cleared to stop serving customers – outdoors and within set guidelines – does not mean they will do so yet.
Off Color Brewing at 1460 N. Kingsbury St. already has a licensed patio out front, so they are a few steps ahead. Others still figuring that out.
But that does not mean they’ll start opening up Wednesday.
“We tend to produce more esoteric and what we think of as interesting and pretty beer,” said Off Color co-founder John Laffler.
Mayor Lightfoot’s announcement Monday that gave bars and breweries the go-ahead to open up came as a surprise.
“‘OK, everyone open-up in 48 hours. It’s fine,’” Laffler said. “That seemed very sudden.”
It seemed sudden after weeks and weeks of back and forth – bars and breweries without kitchens fighting to open safely, the way restaurants have.
“It’s certainly something we’ve been asking the mayor to let us do and we are pleased she is allowing us to – but not something we are going to jump into,” Laffler said. “We got the go ahead to open up on Wednesday. We are definitely not opening up tomorrow.”
Laffler isn’t alone in that.
“I don’t know anybody actually opening up tomorrow,” he said.
Instead, he is prepping now, putting plans and new measures in place.
“To try to keep everybody as safe as we can,” he said.
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Laffler said Off Color Brewing will open up their patio sometime next week. It is something for which they are already permitted.
“A bunch of other places are having to scramble and get licensing for having a sidewalk patio,” Laffler said.
As for guidelines set by the city, staff will have to wear masks, tables will have to be six-feet apart with a max of six people per table, and customers will be limited to two-hour stays.
“We certainly hope this will help business,” Laffler said.
Starting Wednesday, with the city guidelines, bars and breweries that open can serve drinks on their property until 11 p.m., with to-go and delivery sales ending at 9 p.m.