Restaurants open for outdoor seating Friday, Peoria city leaders create guidelines

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Restaurants and bars in Peoria can seat customers outside starting Friday, but the city of Peoria announced outdoor seating requirements Tuesday night.

Tables must be six-feet apart and only six people are allowed at each table. The tables must be away from sidewalks and ingress or egress areas. There will also be mask requirements.

In addition, live music was a big topic of discussion Tuesday. Although the state of Illinois approved live music at bars and restaurants, Peoria City Council was on the fence. The Peoria County Health Department suggested against it. Health leaders said allowing live music would give businesses a party atmosphere, which would coincide with social distancing guidelines.

The council decided that live music is permitted for business owners who already have licenses for live music performances.

Also, the council voted unanimously to alter closing times for bars and restaurants.

Bars and restaurants in neighborhoods:

Sunday through Wednesday: 10 p.m.

Thursday through Saturday: 11 p.m.

Bars and restaurants in commercial areas:

Sunday through Wednesday: 11 p.m.

Thursday through Saturday: Midnight

Bars and restaurants in downtown/riverfront:

Sunday through Wednesday: Midnight

Thursday through Saturday: 1 a.m.

The city council said there are working to accommodate business owners who do not have enough space to offer outside seating.

Also, the council continues its efforts to close the city’s budget deficit. Everything is on the table. Tuesday, Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich showed council members how cutting $10 mil. in operational costs would affect the city.

Between the back office, emergency communications, community development, public works, fire and police there are a total of 664 staff. After cuts, 94 employees will lose their jobs.

Back Office

Emergency Communications

Community Development

Public Works

Fire

Police

Total

63

35

36

92

189

249

664

12

0

6

14

33

29

94

City leaders said fire engine companies will be eliminated, there will be longer snow routes, fewer neighborhood resources and slower response times to neighbors’ requests and complaints.

The council is considering alternatives that would eliminate the need for lay-offs. One option is to reduce all city employees’ salaries by 10%. City leaders said it is unlikely, but has been discussed with various unions. Also, the city is exploring what they call a more likely scenario. It’s called Voluntary Separation Initiative (VSI). A VSI would provide an additional $25,000 of health care premiums to employees willing to leave the city voluntarily.

Also, the City of Peoria approved a $1.5 mil. settlement in the Fannon VS. Peoria case. On Valentine’s Day in 2019, Kayla Fannon called Peoria Police looking for immediate help. She told Officer Joseph Harris with the Peoria Police Department that her former boyfriend, David Jenkins, was threatening to kill her. Following the call, Jenkins shot and killed her before killing himself. Fannon’s family was in search of justice, her aunt brought court action against the city of Peoria and Officer Harris alleging wrongful death.

Lastly, Bleeding and Clotting Disorders Institute made a presentation for council Tuesday. The company plans to take over the Midstate College campus on Northmoor Rd. The non-profit has 53 employees and the patient demand is increasing. The company’s CEO, Rebecca Burns, said they are outgrowing their current space. The company hopes to break ground this August and open its doors late summer 2021.

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