Algonquin's village board this week approved an ordinance allowing restaurants to use the right-of-way and parking lots for customer seating areas.

The village says this ordinance is intended to help support local business and maintain safety, social distancing requirements, and consistency with Gov. JB Pritzker's Restore Illinois Plan.

Mike Kumbera, assistant village manager, said outdoor seating is now publicly available, as the ordinance went into effect after being approved during a village board meeting on Tuesday.

Customers can now go to a restaurant, get a meal for carry out, and eat it in these designated seating areas. However, restaurants still cannot serve people outside.

Hours of operation for designated outdoor seating areas are limited to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and people will be allowed to use the space for up to an hour.

Kumbera said the board wanted to provide some alternatives to restaurants, as as they will not be able to serve their regular capacity of customers inside for the near future.

According to minutes for the village's Committee of the Whole meeting, this is a temporary ordinance to amend outdoor eating restrictions and areas, as well as a temporary amendment to its liqour code.

The amendment to the liqour code allows alchohol to be served in these outdoor seating areas as well.

However, the ordinance states that these initiatives may need to be withdrawn if they are abused or if there are violations of the governor’s executive order, such as such as gatherings of more than 10 people during Phase 2 of Restore Illinois, or if social distancing guidelines are not maintained.

This ordinance is benchmarked with the phases in the Restore Illinois Plan, Kumbera said.

Each phase in the plan is designed to gradually bring the state out of quarantine. It divides Illinois into four “health regions,” which will move through the five phases independent of one another.

Currently, all four regions, including the one McHenry County is in, are on track to get to Phase 3, during which restaurants will be able to serve people outdoors.

Bars and restaurants throughout the state have been closed for dine-in service since March 16.

According to Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, the businesses can open their doors again in Phase 4 of the governor’s five-phase plan.

Right now, the four health regions are all in Phase 2.

Earlier this month, the Woodstock City Council approved outdoor seating for restaurants in the historic Woodstock Square area, and last week, McHenry added outdoor seating for patrons in its downtown area.