The Illinois Liquor Control Commission released an updated FAQ on COVID-19 compliance that reflects guidance on changes to be implemented in Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan. You can access the updated FAQ here. Several important Q&A’s relating to best practices for liquor control commissioners and staff are listed below.
May a local liquor commissioner extend or designate an outdoor dining and/or drinking area?
  • Yes, the local liquor control commissioner can extend or designate an outdoor dining and/or drinking area to include a attached public sidewalk, beer garden, patio, adjacent public street, private parking lot, or similar outdoor area that isn’t usually designed for eating and drinking.
  • If the local liquor control commissioner  does not require additional licensing for outdoor eating and/or drinking, then there is no requirement to file a State Special Use Permit application to extend the licensed address.
  • A local liquor control commissioner  may designate government-owned property as an outdoor dining and/or drinking area if provided by ordinance
  • If authorized by local rule or ordinance, a local liquor commissioner may grant an exception to the 100 foot rule prohibition (no alcohol sales within 100 feet of a church, school, hospital, home for aged or indigent persons or veterans (or their spouses and children), or military or naval stations).
  • Outdoor drinking and dining areas authorized by local governments should ensure proper social distancing of six feet between each customer table, parties must be 6 persons or fewer, and all food or drinks must be prepared by licensed food or liquor establishments.


What is the best way for a local liquor control commissioner to extend or designate the outdoor dining and/or drinking area?

The local liquor control commissioner should:
  • Review and approve all extended or designated outdoor dining and/or drinking areas;
  • Require licensees to submit a site plan and floor plan showing all borders of the outdoor dining and/or drinking area;
  • Require the licensee to post the site plan and floor plan within the outdoor dining and/or drinking area;
  • Require the licensees to create temporary physical barriers around the perimeter of the extended dining and/or drinking area; and
  • Communicate in writing that the extended dining and/or drinking area has a specific termination date (15 days after the first day of Phase 4, or the last special use day authorized by the local liquor control commissioner, whichever occurs first).


Am I required to file an Illinois Liquor Control Commission Special Use Permit for Phase 3 privileges?

There is no requirement to file a state special use permit application to extend the licensed address as long as the local liquor control commissioner  does not require additional licensing for outdoor eating and/or drinking.
Other important notes:
  • No alcohol tastings are permitted.
  • Private meetings, events, and weddings are not permitted unless the party is in an outdoor dining and/or drinking area and is for 6 people or fewer. No exceptions are made if the event brings their own alcoholic beverages.
  • Hotel restaurants may continue to provide room service, carry out, and outdoor food consumption.
  • No video gaming is allowed pursuant to an order issued by the Illinois Gaming Board
As we previously reported, the General Assembly recently sent legislation authorizing “to-go” cocktails to the Governor for consideration. There may be further guidance from the Liquor Control Commission once the Governor signs this bill in to law, as expected.
Post authored by Catherine Coghlan and Daniel J. Bolin, Ancel Glink