St. Charles picks outdoor heaters for bars, restaurants
In a continuing effort to help restaurants and bars provide outdoor service as winter approaches, the St. Charles City Council approved the use of certain types of heating devices in public areas.
The unanimous vote Monday by the aldermen opens the door for permitted establishments to offer outdoor service aside from the tents they were approved to use following a city council vote in October.
Combined with the recent decision to open a portion of 1st Street to allow for easier carryout service, the city is still trying to find ways to ease the burden on restaurants and bars dealing with indoor service bans due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
At Monday's city council meeting, St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina praised Rita Tungare, director of community and economic development, and St. Charles Fire Chief Scott Swanson for coming up with the proposal for the use of heaters.
"Thank you to both of you, sincerely," Rogina said, "We appreciate the fact that you've put together a plan here that's safe and yet has utility for (establishments) as they move forward to the winter."
The idea of heating devices arose at the October meeting during the discussion about tents and outdoor dining during the winter. Tungare noted the heating devices discussed Monday will not be used inside the tents.
She outlined the recommended types of devices -- they must be at least 15 feet away from a structure -- including spark-free and smoke-free propane or electric patio heaters and fire tables. Any kind of open burning fire pit that produces smoke, embers or ash is not permitted.
According to the city, all five restaurants adjacent to the 1st Street Public Plaza already meet or exceed the amount and type of insurance necessary to add the heating devices.