The Illinois Senate on Sunday approved several measures to benefit the bar and restaurant industry. The moves come just as COVID-19 positivity rates in Chicago dip to 2 percent — the lowest the city’s seen since March 2020.
Cocktails-to-go in Illinois will sunset unless SB104 is signed into law today. Let's hope this is a priority for the governor today.— Irish Liquor Lawyer (@LiquorIrish) June 2, 2021
The measures will next go to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is expected to sign. These are some highlights:
- Bars and restaurants can to continue selling takeout and delivery drinks, along with single servings of wine, until January 3, 2024. The existing law, originally approved by city and state officials in June 2020, expires Wednesday. Regulations include required tamper-proof and sealed containers, need secure lids or caps, and must have a seven-day expiration date. When out for delivery, the drinks must be stored in trunks.
- The to-go cocktails extension also includes a provision that would allow bars and restaurants to offer a free alcoholic drink to those who can prove they’re vaccinated against COVID-19. Designed to encourage more residents to get vaccinations, the promotion from June 10 to July 10 lets establishments serve customers a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or a drink with 1.5 ounces of liquor (including shots).
- Legislators also approved HB 2620, which includes a series of actions to help small breweries including allowing them to permanently offer curbside beer pickup. Once a necessity for social distancing, the practice has become a popular convenience for beer drinkers across the state.
In other news...
— Celebrity chef and Top Chef champion Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat, Cabra) has signed on as “chief restaurant adviser” at third-party delivery company DoorDash, according to a rep. In her new role, Izard will serve as a mediator between restaurants and DoorDash, “sort[ing] out hiccups” like “misunderstood fees,” according to Crain’s. Chefs and owners have vigorously criticized the delivery giant and its competitors over steep charges to restaurants in the midst of a pandemic crisis.
— Former President and ex-Chicagoan Barack Obama made an unexpected appearance Tuesday at South Shore Brew coffee shop, according to WBEZ’s Natalie Moore. “Surprise guest! @BarackObama talking to South Side small bz at South Shore Brew,” she writes on Twitter.
— The New York Times Magazine on Sunday featured Chicago chef Jennifer Kim (Passerotto) and Alt Economy, her newish culinary project, in a sweeping survey of chefs across the U.S. who circumvented the restaurant model to serve customers directly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kim is among a wave of chefs and hospitality workers forming new ways to feed patrons and sustain their communities, Korsha Wilson writes, with technology as the link between makers and diners.
— Pride Month kicked off on Tuesday across the U.S., marking the first Chicago celebration without “Boystown” — the longtime nickname for Lakeview’s LGBTQ neighborhood that last year was renamed Northalsted in an effort to promote the inclusion of groups including lesbians and transgender people. Street banners and marketing materials have been tweaked, but the systemic changes that activists and supporters called for have yet to become reality. The Tribune has more.