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What to Expect When Dining Out

Post Date:05/27/2020 5:00 PM

The state’s Restore Illinois plan for Phase 3 allows for outdoor dining – but your favorite restaurant may look a little different for the time being. These regulations apply for all restaurants in Illinois and are in place to protect the health and safety of both customers and employees.  Village staff  is working closely with restaurateurs to assist them in a phased re-opening, should they wish to open to outdoor (al fresco) dining beginning May 29 (the expected date the state will move into Phase 3). 

Outdoor only seating

Tables will be a minimum of 6 feet apart. Some restaurants with large open air windows may have a few tables immediately adjacent to the open windows, as this qualifies as “outdoor”. Others may utilize areas within their parking lots to make their dining patios larger.

Limits on Group Size

Restaurants can offer seating to a party of 6 or fewer guests at time.

Customer Expectations & Behavior - Learn Before You Go 

  • Some restaurants may utilize call-ahead or reservation-only seating, as dining capacity is largely reduced. Others may offer a limited menu or reduced hours. Check websites or call ahead to be sure.
  • Customers are not permitted to outdoor dine during inclement weather, per the Phase 3 guidelines.
  • Your group may not be allowed to wait on the premises for a table as open congregation areas should be closed. You may be asked to queue off-site, or in your vehicle, to maintain physical distancing. Keep in mind that restaurants must also physically accommodate pick-up and delivery customers with 6 foot distancing mandates. 
  • Alcoholic beverages may not be taken off the restaurant premises. Restaurants should not serve you a drink “while you wait” for a table off-premise, as this is a violation of liquor license regulations. 
  • Per Phase 3 guidelines, you should wear a face covering unless you are seated at your table eating/drinking; patrons should mask up while walking through the dining area or to the restroom.
  • The restaurant may offer you a disposable menu or encourage the use of a digital menu via your smartphone, to avoid having to sanitize a menu before and after each guest.

Dining Experience 

  • Tables may be bare, as table tents and shared condiments like salt/pepper shakers should be removed. 
  • All shared food/beverage areas should be closed, including buffets, salad bars, and drink refill stations. Waitstaff will likely provide you with a new glass for refills, instead of refilling your previous glass. 
  • Some restaurants may use disposable dining ware (cups, forks, plates, napkins) or offer single-use condiments like ketchup packets. 
  • You may have to package your own take-home containers after dining.

The state has posted detailed guidelines on Phase 3 operations for all business types. Find more information about these regulations, and those for other business types, on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.

We will soon be posting to experiencemountprospect.org a list of restaurants that are offering al fresco dining.  

The Village and local restaurant community appreciate your support and patience, while we strive to provide a safe and comfortable environment to enjoy dining out once again. 

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