While restaurants will be allowed to seat customers, starting May 29, there are still big hurdles to overcome for business to return to normal.

For more than two months, Illinois restaurant owners have had to survive on a fraction of the business they had pre-COVID. Employees of many of these places were either furloughed or let go. The other reality is that some of our favorite places may never recover and they will have to close.

We've all had to follow rules, laws and orders we don't like or agree with, since late March.   It's extremely difficult to both protect the business community and keep us all safe from this pandemic. Not every decision made has been well received.

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These steps made by the City of Rockford are quite a big favor to restaurant owners who are now trying to find a way to create enough outdoor dining space to do what they do best.

  • Dedicating Public Works and Community and Economic Development staff to facilitate an expedite the approval process for all outdoor seating.
  • Waiving permit fees associated with establishment of outdoor seating areas for restaurants on public and private property.
  • Allowing temporary outdoor seating areas in private parking lots, sidewalks, public lots and alley’s (subject to safety standards).
  • Suspending the liquor license approval process for existing restaurant license holders to expand or create outdoor seating areas.

Email businessfirst@rockfordil.gov if you need more information