By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago bar owners will no longer have to worry about being cited for health code violations for allowing pets on their premises, after aldermen voted to clarify language in the city’s code.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) sponsored the measure to rewrite city rules that currently prohibit animals in “any store, meat market, bakery, or other place where foodstuffs are sold or on display,” after fielding complaints that some health inspectors interpreted that ban to apply to bars, because they use garnishes like lemons and limes for drinks.

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Reilly said that was never the intent of the rule banning animals from some businesses, so he introduced an ordinance to rewrite the language to prohibit animals in “any portion of a premises licensed as a retail food establishment” so that bars that allow dogs no longer have to worry about getting fined for something they’ve been doing for years.

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The alderman said the updated language will simply clarify that tavern licenses aren’t a license to serve food, so bars are allowed to permit customers to bring in their dogs.

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The ordinance would not require all bars in the city to allow dogs on the premises, only allow them the option if the owners want it.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff