Oak Park’s village board will meet virtually Thursday and a main topic on the agenda for the special meeting will be a proposed ordinance allowing and expanding outdoor dining for local restaurants as soon as this Friday, May 29.

The proposed ordinance would allow streets and village owned parking lots to be selectively closed to traffic to allow for increased outdoor seating for restaurants. Restaurants will need to acquire permits for outdoor dining on village property, but no fees will be associated with such permits. In addition, restaurants will need to show proof of liability insurance and adhere to all social distancing requirements related to occupancy and table spacing.

At Citrine, 100 S. Oak Park Ave., Chef Michael Taus and his team have their tape measures out to space tables in accordance with proper social distancing practices. The Mediterranean restaurant is preparing to open for patio service as soon as Friday.

The patio at Citrine typically holds approximately 20 tables but will be reduced to 8 or 9 during this phase of reopening.

In addition to continuing their robust carry out business, Taus is preparing to acquire any necessary outdoor dining permits Citrine may need. The restaurant continues to monitor the health of staff members and wipes down restaurant surfaces four times a day. Now his team is devising plans to introduce individual silverware roll-ups, single-use recyclable menus, and bottled water service as part of their patio dining program.

“This is the toughest time we’ve ever had in this business and safety is number one for us at Citrine,” said Taus, culinary director of Gemstone Café Group. “Keeping people healthy is our top priority and we know the less we touch tables the better.”

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