City Council Approves new rules and Dogs now allowed in Chicago bars

Dog owners will be allowed to bring their pups into some Chicago bars without the bar owner fearing a health citation under an ordinance approved by City Council Wednesday.

The council unanimously endorsed Ald. Brendan Reilly’s (42nd) proposal Wednesday without so much as a bark of opposition to narrow the city’s ban on non-service animals in businesses so that it only applies to “retail food establishments” as opposed to any “place where foodstuffs are sold or on display.”

This means bars that don’t serve food can let patrons bring their pups along.

Bar owners have complained to Reilly that city health officials are ticketing their businesses because they allow dogs on the same premises as cocktail garnishes like lemons and limes, which can be defined as “foodstuffs” under city code. His proposal would “make sure that our tavern owners aren’t being ticketed for something they’ve been doing for some time,” Reilly said during a committee meeting Wednesday.

“There’s a very popular practice where customers are allowed to bring their dogs to sit on their outdoor patio space during the warm weather months, and it’s really been embraced by many of the neighborhoods in the city,” the Downtown alderman said. “So this simply is to clarify that as long as a tavern license isn’t serving food … it’s OK for them to allow their customers to bring their dogs in for a visit.”

He added that the provision “will not mandate dogs in taverns” but will empower bars owners to allow four-legged patrons if they want.

Pet-friendly bar owners have been rankled by sporadic visits from city inspectors who issue citations of up to $500 for violating the city’s health code, Pat Doerr, managing director of the Hospitality Business Association of Chicago, told The Daily Line.

“Alderman Reilly’s ordinance clears up a long time source of confusion over whether dogs are allowed indoors even when their spots don’t serve food,” Doerr previously said. “A good day for Chicago’s dogs and the neighborhood taverns that welcome them.”

[Block Club]

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