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Marion to expand liquor licenses, outdoor space for bars and restaurants

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MARION (WSIL) -- Marion Mayor Mike Absher has issued an executive order expanding liquor licenses and providing additional outdoor space to bars and restaurants.

The move comes one week ahead of the planned Phase 3 of Governor JB Pritzker's "Reopen Illinois" guidelines. Under Phase 3, bars and restaurants will be able to open for outdoor dining beginning May 29.

"Ahead of Phase 3 of the Governor Pritzker’s Reopen Illinois plan, this Executive Order establishes phased opportunities for the use of outdoor public and private spaces and the extension of liquor licenses under the limited capacity and social distancing guidelines of the Governor’s plan," said a release Friday from the mayor's office.

According to Absher, beginning immediately under the existing Phase 2 and extending through Phase 3:

  • Use of Right-of-Way for Public Pedestrian Use Public property that has been designated and any private property owned or leased by a bar or restaurant throughout the City can be used by the public with the intent for gathering under existing social distancing guidelines for the consumption of food and alcoholic beverages purchased via curbside pickup from bars/restaurants. Hours of operation for these designated spaces shall be limited to 7:00am to 10:00pm and use of the space will be for a maximum of 60 minutes. Beginning in Phase 3, consumption of food or alcoholic beverages can be purchased via outside “dine-in” dining so long as proper health safety precautions and guidance from the State are followed. Social distancing will remain in effect and tables must remain six feet apart through Phase 3.
  • Public Possession and Consumption of Alcohol Within the areas designated above only, the City has provisionally waived prohibitions on the public consumption or possession of alcohol. This prohibition waiver is for the consumption of packaged alcoholic beverages purchased from adjacent licensed bars/restaurants only. After hours public consumption will be enforced along with public consumption outside of the designated areas.
  • Compliance/Enforcement Local and State laws surrounding public gatherings and alcohol consumption will remain in full effect and enforcement by the Marion Police Department. This applies to public intoxication, disturbances, fights, noise complaints and other statutory laws. The City reserves the right to remove designated areas if a pattern of abuse of this or the Governor’s order persists.

“We’re thankful that the Governor has accelerated the reopening process and we’re excited to get back to a sense of normalcy,” said Mayor Absher. “We will continue to look for ways to support our local business owners as we work to recover our local economy.

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