City of Champaign Issues Emergency Order 20-18 to Facilitate Outdoor Dining in Support of Local Bars and Restaurants

Today Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen issued Emergency Order 20-18, which implements a three-pronged plan to support local bars and restaurants planning to provide outdoor dining options to customers as Champaign moves into phase three of the state’s Restore Illinois reopening plan later this week.

First, the Emergency Order allows for the temporary expansion of the City’s popular Outdoor Café program for the sale and consumption of food and beverage on public outdoor spaces near existing bars and restaurants, including the use of certain sidewalks, streets, loading zones and parking spaces. Outdoor Cafés will be permitted to operate from 8 am to 10 pm daily.

Second, the Emergency Order allows bars and restaurants who have privately owned parking lots or other vacant outdoor space to temporarily expand their premises for the sale and consumption of food and beverage in those areas. Food and beverage service in these expanded outdoor areas will be permitted from 8 am to 10 pm daily.

And third, the Emergency Order establishes provisions for three “Picnic Parks” on City streets and right-of-way in Downtown Champaign to allow for the comfortable consumption of takeout food by customers of Downtown restaurants. Work on setting up the Picnic Parks will begin this week and they are expected to be available for the use of takeout customers next week. They will be open during lunch and dinner hours and will close at 9:00 pm daily. Alcohol will not be permitted within the Picnic Parks. The Picnic Parks will be located at:
• Chester Street between Walnut Street and University Avenue.
• Eastern section of Park Avenue between Neil Street and Randolph Street.
• Southern section of the City parking lot at Neil Street and Washington Street.

The City of Champaign is partnering with the Champaign Park District for the oversight and management of the Picnic Parks.

To assist local business owners in understanding the provisions for offering outdoor dining, a set of guidelines have been established. Bar and restaurant owners interested in expanding their service areas on private or public property should review and follow the guidelines, which are posted on the City’s website at

The City of Champaign has worked very quickly to implement plans and guidelines to support our local food and beverage establishments that are interested in providing outdoor seating as early as Friday, May 29, 2020. The City will carefully monitor the rollout and implementation of these new guidelines and may make adjustments as necessary.

A full copy of Emergency Order 20-18, the guidelines, and maps showing the location of the Picnic Parks can be reviewed on the City’s website at