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Open for Business!

Published May 29, 2020

Friday, May 29 marked the first day of Phase 3, the next step in the gradual, safe reopening of the state economy under the Restore Illinois plan. In Phase 3, restaurants, service businesses, and retailers may reopen with extended services provided public health and safety protocols are followed. Business owners, employees, and customers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with all guidelines for safe shopping, including wearing face coverings inside stores, maintaining a safe social distance from others, and practicing good hand hygiene.
To learn about services your favorite shop, salon, or restaurant may be offering during Phase 3, please contact that business. A directory of businesses is available on the City's website.
Please see below for an overview of some changes you will see implemented by local businesses and the City:
Street closures: To facilitate safe outdoor dining opportunities and to maximize service to customers, the City has closed certain streets in the Central Business District and the Ravinia Business District. A map of closures is available on the City's website. Please note that detours around these closures are in place. A detour map has been posted. Please drive with caution in these areas as the City anticipates additional foot traffic.
Outdoor dining, table-service: Restaurants who desire to utilize outdoor seating areas may apply for a Temporary Outdoor Expansion Permit. There are no application or permit fees for this purpose.
Outdoor dining, picnicking: The City has designated certain areas throughout downtown Highland Park and the Ravinia District as spaces for residents to enjoy carryout meals from local restaurants. A map showing these areas is now available to download. Please pay attention to all posted signage and detours.
Retail stores reopen to foot trafficBeginning today, retail stores may reopen to in-store shoppers. However, stores must remain in compliance with reduced capacity guidelines to ensure safe shopping for all. Capacity varies by store.
Outdoor merchandising, displays, and seating: Business owners may apply for a Temporary Outdoor Expansion Permit to use public spaces adjacent to their store to display or sell merchandise, provide seating for customers, etc. Applications and permits are available on the City's website and there is no fee.
Outdoor fitness classesFitness businesses may now offer outdoor classes for groups of 10 or less. One-on-one personal training may also resume. Fitness businesses without suitable outdoor space adjacent to their facility may also apply for a Temporary Outdoor Expansion Permit for Fitness Classes.
Personal care businessesHair and nail salons, barbershops, and other personal care businesses may reopen for service with certain safety protocols in place.
The State of Illinois provides more information about the provisions and expansions of Phase 3, and industry-specific guidelines for reopening.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why has the City designated certain areas for expanded outdoor dining?
 Not all restaurants have the capacity or adjacent space to offer outdoor table service. To facilitate residents' enjoyment of these expanded services in Phase 3, the City has identified outdoor spaces in downtown Highland Park and the Ravinia District that have been designated for picnicking. These new outdoor areas are highlighted on a map , which is subject to change. Residents may bring their own lawn chairs, small tables, blankets, and other picnic gear to enjoy meals purchased from local businesses. Please be sure to observe social distancing and dispose of all trash when using these temporary outdoor dining areas.

Where are the expanded outdoor dining areas located?
The City has posted a map of these new, outdoor dining areas to its website. Residents may enjoy food purchased at local businesses in any of these spaces, provided certain guidelines are followed, and may bring their own outdoor dining accessories (chairs, picnic blankets, etc.) to enjoy meals. Spaces will be marked to setup chairs, portable tables, and other picnic items within the outdoor dining areas to provide for social distancing. Additionally, restaurant owners may apply to use outdoor dining spaces for table service. Please contact restaurants directly for information on their outdoor dining offerings.

What safety guidelines are in place for the outdoor dining or shopping areas ?
Please take care to follow these guidelines when enjoying outdoor dining or visiting your favorite local retailers:
  • Wear a face covering when entering any local business, including picking up a carryout order from a restaurant.
  • Continue to wear your face covering when walking around the city, if you cannot maintain a social distance from others.
  • Maintain a safe distance from others and avoid congregating in close quarters.
  • Enjoy alcoholic beverages only in the designated outdoor dining areas.
  • Dispose of trash before leaving the outdoor dining area or take trash with you to dispose of at home. Please do not leave trash behind!
  • Respect capacity limits inside restaurants and businesses and in outdoor dining areas; capacity limits are set by state guidance.
  • Observe all additional requirements or guidelines implemented by business owners. 
Business owners, employees, and customers can also familiarize themselves with industry-specific guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity .

When can outdoor dining and retail foot traffic resume?
These activities can resume today, Friday, May 29. Please note that many businesses are still working to adapt their services to the requirements of Phase 3 and may continue to add additional services over the next few weeks.

Phase 3 allows for gatherings in groups of 10 or less. Can I meet up with friends and use one of the new outdoor dining areas?
While gatherings of ten individuals or fewer are permitted in Phase 3, it's still safest to minimize contact with others outside your household. If you choose to socialize with a group, please maintain a social distance of at least 6' from others not within your household and wear a face covering. Please note that contact sports are not permitted at this time.

I am a business owner; where can I find the temporary outdoor use applications? Is there an application or permit fee?
There are no fees for the temporary outdoor use applications or permits. Visit the City's website to download the applications and view the outdoor dining area maps. Business owners will be asked to submit site plans for review, which must be consistent with public health guidance regarding safe spacing of customers. The Office of Business Development is happy to assist business owners in understanding and completing these applications and can be reached at 847.926.1027.