City council discusses outdoor seating for businesses

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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur City Council discussed some ideas on allowing businesses to have outdoor seating.

This comes as Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan allows restaurants to have outdoor seating. At Tuesday’s special city council meeting, the council passed an ordinance allowing businesses to use public rights of way when necessary for outdoor serving.

The council discussed how this concept would look in Decatur. They talked about waiving fees for permits for the public rights of way at least through the summer and then extend it if needed. After applying for the permit, the businesses could talk to city staff about what sort of set-up they were thinking of and then take it from there. The council said they want to be as flexible as possible since each business is different with their needs.

While the council said they want to be flexible with business owners, they want to have the permits for liability reasons. They also want to allow business owners to have a chance to make smart decisions when it comes to proper health measures among their patrons. A couple of council members said they want to lean on business owners taking responsible actions for enforcing proper protocol instead of using police so officers can focus on other responsibilities within the city.

These were just a few suggestions by council on how to format businesses setting up outdoor spaces. The City will now take those ideas to create a process for businesses to follow, which will be announced at a later time.

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