Machesney Park Health and Safety Requirements for Temporary Outdoor Seating and Dining Areas
Permits Required

On May 24th, the Governor announced guidelines for safe reopening of businesses under phase 3 of the Restore Illinois Plan.  The Village is excited to see our businesses re-open under new guidelines to ensure the safety of residents, visitors, business owners, and employees.  Outdoor seating and dining areas will be approved by the Village through a simple and free permit. As of Thursday, May 28th, the Village is accepting applications for permits to allow outdoor seating areas for bars and outdoor dining areas for restaurants (without liquor licenses).

Restaurant and bar owners are responsible for all aspects of food safety and other public health guidelines established by the Winnebago County Health Department. Permission for outdoor seating is a temporary permission. The following guidelines are intended to protect public health and safety and must be followed on a continuing basis to ensure a successful transition back to normal business operations.

  1. Distancing. All restaurants and bars are required to follow CDC guidelines where applicable. Dining tables must be placed on a paved surface such that seating around the table provides a six (6) foot minimum distance between seats. Each table shall contain no more than six (6) seats.
  2. Site plan. The outdoor seating/dining plan shall be reviewed by the Community Development Department to ensure patrons have safe access. Tables must not block entrances, exits, fire lanes, fire hydrants, sprinkler connection points, drive aisles, back-up/turn-arounds, and areas for handicapped pedestrian access. The property owner and the restaurant or bar remains responsible for ADA compliance. Outdoor dining areas shall not occupy public sidewalks nor shall any portion of the dining area be located on government-owned property.
  3. Barrier required. Parking spaces may be used for seating/dining areas but there must be a physical barrier provided to protect customers from vehicle traffic. Acceptable barriers include bollards, barricades, fencing, sawhorses, planter boxes, curbing or other items as approved by the Village. Barriers are to be placed around the outdoor seating area to separate the area from driveways and parking spaces commonly used for motor vehicle access.
  4. Drive-thrus and Curside Pick-up. If the permit holder has a drive-through lane or curbside location for pickup, the seating area must be physically protected by barriers that will prevent drivers from potentially driving through the seating area. In some instances, in order to meet these criteria, restaurants or bars may have to block off drive-through lanes with parked vehicles and or suspend curbside and drive-through services if the layout of the planned outdoor seating/dining area is not capable of being safely separated from vehicular access.
  5. Tents/canopies. If a tent or canopy is to be used it must be fire rated and meet the fire rating for the tent or canopy to be approved. No outdoor cooking shall take place underneath a tent. All tents must be properly secured to the ground. The sides of all tents and canopies shall be open at all times when customers or employees are present.
  6. Restrooms. Access to indoor restrooms must be made available. The permit holder is required to maintain clean restrooms at all times, in accordance with CDC and County Health Department guidelines.  Patrons/customers shall be required to wear masks in restrooms.
  7. Trash and Debris. The permit holder is responsible for maintaining the outdoor seating/dining space free of trash and other debris and make all reasonable attempts to ensure light weight items like napkins and papers are not subject to wind disbursement throughout the neighboring vicinity.
  8. Liquor. If the permit holder has an existing liquor license, they must notify the Village with their permit application whether or not they intend to serve alcohol in the outdoor dining/seating area. The restaurant is responsible for all requirements of its existing liquor license and the Village reserves the right to place any additional restrictions on the serving of alcohol in the outdoor seating area it deems necessary to comply with local and state law and or for public safety.
  • Alcoholic beverage consumption shall only be permitted within the designated outdoor seating area. The permit holder shall not allow or permit any customer, employee, or other person to remove opened alcoholic beverages from the outdoor seating area.
  • Signs shall be installed stating that open alcohol shall not be removed from the seating area.
  • The permit holder shall comply with all other applicable requirements of Chapter 9 of the Village Code regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages.
  1. Pets are not allowed to be brought within outdoor seating and dining areas.
  2. Live music. Live music is not allowed in outdoor dining and seating areas.
  3. Recorded music. Recorded music played by a permit holder shall not violate the Village’s Noise Ordinance and shall be turned off at 10:00 p.m. daily.
  4. Smoking. All permit holders shall ensure that employees and customers meet the requirements of the Smoke Free Illinois Act.
  5. Hours of operation. Operating hours may not exceed the normal hours of the restaurant’s indoor operations.
  6. Video gaming. Use of video gaming machines are not allowed in this phase of re-opening.

All questions regarding the Machesney Park Health and Safety Guidelines for Temporary Outdoor Seating and Dining Areas shall be submitted to the Community Development Department at (815) 877-5432 or via email to

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