City of Chicago Business Affairs & Consumer Protection // July 9, 2021
BACP is pleased to announce that Chicago’s City Council passed the Chi Biz Strong Initiative on June 25, 2021. This bold legislative package contains a number of initiatives to help jumpstart our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and set our businesses, workers and consumers on the path towards a stronger future. Below you will find an overview of the effective dates and important details for businesses on the various pieces of this broad legislation. BACP will share more information as the effective dates approach, and please do not hesitate to reply to this email with any questions.
Effective June 26, 2021:
- Extension of Third-Party Delivery Fee Caps: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the City instituted a 15% cap on fees that Third-Party Delivery Companies can charge restaurants. This fee cap has been extended until 180 days after all indoor dining restrictions are lifted – December 8, 2021 if current regulations remain in place. See here for an industry notice.
- Extension of Legalized Cocktails To-Go: Last year, the sale of cocktails-to-go was temporarily legalized to support bars and restaurants during the pandemic. The State of Illinois recently extended this legalization until 2024, and the Chi Biz Strong Initiative ensures that the sale of cocktails to-go from a business with a Tavern or Consumption on Premises-Incidental Activity license remains legal in Chicago during that time. Additionally, this measure allows these businesses to also sell single-serve wine to-go. See here for more information on cocktails to-go.
- New Package Goods Operating Hours: No establishment that holds a Package Goods License shall sell, permit to be sold or give away any alcoholic liquor between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, except that a supermarket may commence the sale of package goods at 8:00 a.m. on Sundays. Please see here an industry notice on the new hours of operation for Package Goods Licensees.
- Hospitality Reforms: In order to reduce red tape for the hospitality industry and align with state regulations, the term for a special event liquor permits has been extended from 11 to 15 days. Additionally, the requirements for entrepreneurs to receive a liquor or Public Place of Amusement License have been modernized to reduce barriers to entry for returning residents.
- Extension of Sidewalk Café Operating Hours: Retail Food Licensees with a Sidewalk Café Permit can now begin operating at 7:00 am, one hour earlier than previous requirements.
- Flavored Tobacco Regulations: The sale of flavored tobacco is prohibited in Chicago. This regulation has been clarified to make it clear that the cigarette wrapping paper or wrapping leaf cannot be flavored, even if it does not contain nicotine.
Effective July 31, 2021:
- Wage Theft Protections: Almost $400 million in wages are stolen from Chicagoland workers by bad-faith employers every year. Chicago’s first Wage Theft Ordinance will give Chicago’s Office of Labor Standards the authority to hold business accountable for the non-payment of wages required for work performed, with potential violations ranging up to $1,000 per offense per day.
- Expedited Restaurant Licensing: The City is making it easier for new restaurants to open in previously licensed restaurant spaces, provided that the previous restaurant had recently passed an inspection. Beginning July 31, new Retail Food Licenses can be issued by BACP to new restaurants prior to the completion of a health inspection, provided that the previous restaurant had passed their most recent health inspection on or after July 1, 2018 and that other conditions are met to ensure that food is prepared safely.
- Fair Marketplace Reforms: Any “Third-Party Facilitator” that connects customers with clients via a digital application will be required to make sure that their clients are properly licensed.
Effective August 1, 2021:
- $15 Minimum Wage for Domestic Workers: Effective August 1, 2021, all Chicago domestic workers will be guaranteed a $15.00 per hour minimum wage, no matter the size of their employer. This ensures that domestic workers have access to the full minimum wage earlier than had been previously guaranteed.
- Paid Sick Leave Enhancements: Chicago workers are guaranteed one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Starting August 1, the possible uses for that paid sick leave will be expanded to include caring for a family member with a closed school or place of care, compliance with public health orders, and mental and behavioral health.
- Chain Business Workers: This initiative will ensure that chain business workers are paid the minimum wage that they are guaranteed under the Minimum Wage Ordinance by clarifying that all workers at a chain business count towards the size of the business.
- Public Vehicle Reforms: The public vehicle industry, especially taxicabs, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to support the industry, the City will increase vehicle utilization by allowing taxicabs to stay on the road longer – up to fifteen years for fuel efficient or wheelchair accessible vehicles, and up to ten years for all other taxicabs. Additionally, the requirements for individuals to become public chauffeurs will be modernized to reduce barriers to entry.
- Charter Bus Reforms: The City will maintain public safety and continue to require charter buses with 15 or more passengers which allow drinking onboard (including BYOB) to secure a separate security guard. Also, trips without any scheduled stops (mobile social clubs) will also need separate security guards. All other charter bus trips with 15 or more passengers will require the driver or someone else on board to be trained in safety protocols to ensure the safety of the passengers. All trips transporting 15 or more passengers must maintain a plan of operation ensuring passenger, driver, and public safety.
- New Low-Speed Electric Public Vehicle License: The City will create a new license to promote operation of environmental friendly and sustainable electric public passenger vehicles, three or four wheeled. These vehicles must be powered by an electric motor with a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour may legally transport passengers for hire, with solicitation of rides prohibited. Full licensing details will be available on the BACP website.
Effective January 1, 2022:
- Contract Requirement for Domestic Workers: Care workers have been hard-hit by the pandemic and face high rates of exploitation. Beginning in 2022, all domestic workers must be provided with a written contract that sets forth their wage and work schedule to ensure accountability, transparency and predictability. More details will be shared as the effective date approaches.
Effective March 1, 2022:
- Legalized Sidewalk Signs: Currently, A-Frame, T-Frame or other temporary self-supporting sidewalk signs are prohibited. Beginning next March, businesses will for the first time be able to receive a low-fee permit allowing them to advertise their business legally with a sidewalk sign. More information will be shared as the effective date approaches.