Hoffman Estates’ relaxed regulations that have allowed restaurants to host outdoor dining during the pandemic without the usual restrictions will continue through at least May 31 instead of expiring on Dec. 31, as had been originally planned.
Among the most distinctive examples of cold-weather outdoor dining in town are the six cozy huts installed last year in the parking lot of The Assembly American Bar & Cafe, 2570 Hassell Road.
Though increased outdoor dining opportunities returned with the warmer weather, the huts have remained on-site and were even decorated in different styles for Halloween.
Hoffman Estates Economic Development Director Kevin Kramer said outdoor dining this winter probably won’t be as widespread as it was last year, before COVID-19 vaccinations were available. But the village board opted to keep it as an option for those, like The Assembly, that wanted it.
Approximately 20 restaurants originally applied for the special outdoor dining permission. Only restaurants that didn’t apply the first time will be required to apply for the new extended period through the winter and spring, Kramer said.
Hoffman Estates’ decision comes shortly after neighboring Schaumburg opted to grant the same type of extension to March 31 for its relaxed outdoor dining restrictions that would have otherwise ended Oct. 31.
While outdoor dining facilities were an option for restaurants before the pandemic, zoning regulations called for construction of patios and decks rather than just the use of parking lots, sidewalks or other areas not originally intended for it.