Arlington Heights restaurants to open Friday, but no street closures yet
While some individual Arlington Heights restaurants are expected to open for outdoor dining on Friday, a larger village-led downtown initiative that would shut down local streets is expected to begin some time next week, the mayor said Tuesday.
Called Arlington Alfresco, the plan calls for the closure of the main downtown thoroughfares Vail Avenue and Campbell Street to allow tables and chairs from more than a dozen eateries to encroach on the public right of way. Village officials and local restaurateurs devised the idea as a way to help bottom lines, while complying with reduced capacity limits due to social distancing measures.
Arlington Heights was among the first municipalities last week to propose a coordinated plan for its downtown entertainment district, and only days later, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that outdoor dining would be allowed by Friday, May 29.
That's a quicker timeline than expected, said Mayor Tom Hayes, since any type of bar or restaurant opening was anticipated in Phase 4, not Phase 3, of Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan.
So closure of Vail and Campbell to vehicle traffic, installation of fencing for 18-foot-wide pedestrian walkways, and the associated barricades and signage, will take a little longer, Hayes said.
In the meantime, Hayes said he expects downtown restaurants like Peggy Kinnane's, Cortland's Garage, Javier's and Salsa 17 -- which have varying levels of dedicated outdoor patio space -- would be able to open as soon as Friday. That also goes for other eateries in the village that have outdoor tables, like McDonald's and Culver's, he said.
An official starting date for the larger-scale Arlington Alfresco will be announced soon, Hayes said.
"Details have been worked on and are continuing to be worked on yet today and the rest of this week to make sure we can do it safely and meet everybody's needs," said Hayes, adding that plans for deliveries and garbage collection are still being finalized.