City of Highland Park Supports Restaurants and Businesses Planning Fall/Winter Outdoor Services
Highland Park businesses to continue offering fun and safe experiences during colder months
October 6, 2020 – Outdoor dining and entertainment will keep the City of Highland Park’s business districts bustling this fall and winter. Business owners are putting plans in place to ensure shoppers and diners can continue to enjoy delicious food and unique shopping as the weather turns colder, while ensuring safety in accordance with state and federal public health guidelines. To support these efforts, the City of Highland Park (City) extended its expanded outdoor use accommodations to assist local restaurants and businesses in continuing to serve patrons into the fall and winter on the City’s public right of way. These measures include the continuation of outdoor dining and merchandising, as well as designated curbside pickup parking spaces.
Several Highland Park restaurants have already announced plans to extend and expand their outdoor dining options in the fall. The City anticipates that others will follow. Ravinia Brewing Company, Norton’s, and Michael’s have embraced the concept of outdoor dining during the fall and winter, investing in elements such as outdoor heating and coverings to ensure comfort and create ambience for patrons. Ravinia Brewing Company will continue with live music presented in its tented dining area, and its beer garden featuring a large screen TV for football games will remain open as well. The City’s new #BYOBlanket campaign asks diners to bring a blanket and snap a selfie to post on social media of their outdoor dining experience to encourage others to join them.
In addition, businesses have optimized plans for curbside and delivery services in preparation for the winter, incorporating lessons learned during the spring and summer to ensure a smooth and convenient experience for patrons. The City has designated strategically located short-term curbside pickup parking spots that balance the needs of all businesses.
Retailers, service businesses, and restaurants have also implemented changes to ensure that indoor services are aligned with State of Illinois public health guidelines. This includes reduced indoor capacity, six feet of distance between chairs, and for many establishments, Plexiglas partitions and even new air purification systems. These COVID-19 precautions are designed to engender confidence in customers choosing to dine or shop indoors.
“The City Council and staff is proud to partner with our business community and work with them as they continue to serve our community in creative and unexpected ways. Our collaborative efforts have been successful as outdoor offerings gave residents and visitors the opportunity to safely enjoy moments of normalcy in a community well-known for its charming business districts, vibrant music and fine art scene, and world class dining establishments,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “It is more important than ever that we continue to support our local business owners and our vibrant business districts by shopping and dining in Highland Park.”
Throughout the pandemic, the City has prioritized the needs of its business community by maintaining consistent communication with business owners, daily updates to its website, which includes resources dedicated to supporting businesses, liaising with state and federal officials to promote grant and loan opportunities, and working to accommodate requests. This included permanent curbside pick-up locations, changes in parking, fee waivers, the temporary suspension of certain business taxes, and other efforts developed in partnership with business owners. The City collaborated with restaurants and businesses to maximize use of outdoor spaces including sidewalk displays, road closures for dining and musical experiences, and use of public spaces for outdoor classes. This measure allowed outdoor dining, shopping, and fitness classes to flourish in the City’s business districts throughout the summer, garnering positive feedback from business owners and residents alike.
Information about outdoor use accommodation permits is available at www.cityhpil.com. Questions regarding permits, COVID-19-related assistance, and other related matters should be directed to the Office of Business Development at 847.926.1027. For a list of Highland Park businesses visit cityhpil.com/businessdirectory. This list will be updated with information about curbside pick-up, delivery, and outdoor dining options.