MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - The mayor of Marion is giving his city’s restaurants and bars a boost and making it easier for customers to enjoy food and drinks.
“We’re so anxious to see some of our friends and neighbors get back to business," said Marion Mayor Mike Absher. “We’re excited to be able to visit our local restaurants.”
Absher issued an order on May 22 that allowed business owners to turn public and private property into outdoor eating and drinking spaces. In those areas, the city also waived public consumption and possession of alcohol purchased from licensed bars and restaurants. The spaces can be used from 7 a.m. till 10 p.m.
This comes after Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced restaurants and bars can open outdoor seating during phase three of the state’s reopening plan.
“This is our effort to relax that so that this can be simply done in more places and benefit not only the restaurants but the patrons that want to visit those restaurants,” said Absher.
According to Absher, social distancing is still required and customers can only eat their food outside. Indoor dining is not allowed at this time.
“We still have to police that and we are hoping and really praying for everybody’s cooperation with this. This will not be a permanent thing once the phase five gets here eventually,” he said.
City leaders are asking for your patience as things change.
“In some places on the square for example it might affect traffic just a little bit, because we’re using some parking spaces for this. We’re using the sidewalk for this," said Absher. "And be understanding that both the restaurants need the business, we need for them to have the business, and we’re kinda just working through this too to make it all work for everybody.”
Mayor Absher said city leaders are looking into ways to support local businesses as much as possible during this time under the governor’s orders.