Riverwalk vendors begin phased reopening Friday

This year’s reopening is earlier than any previous season for the concessions program.

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People take a stroll along the Riverwalk Friday afternoon, July 10, 2020. The Riverwalk is now open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. When the Riverwalk re-opened in June, hours were limited to prevent crowding and the spread of COVID-19. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The city began a phased-in approach to vendor reopening on the Chicago Riverwalk Friday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Vendors on the Chicago Riverwalk began a phased-in reopening Friday that will have all vendors open by the end of May.

Island Party Hut, Beat Kitchen on the River and City Winery opened Friday. A new vendor this year is Pier 31, which plans to open in May.

“The Riverwalk is not only an important part of our city’s economic engine, but it also adds to the liveliness of our iconic summers,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a news release.

“This reopening serves as yet another indicator of our city’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we look forward to making this Chicago staple available to residents and visitors this spring and summer.”

The pedestrian promenade has been a much needed outdoor space for Chicagoans during the pandemic. This year’s reopening is earlier than any previous season for the concessions program.

Social distancing and face covering measures will be required. Customers may remove masks while eating or drinking but must be seated. Groups will be limited to 10 people.

These vendors plan to reopen on a weekly or bi-weekly basis in the coming weeks: Northman Beer & Cider Garden, Chicago Brewhouse, Tiny Tapp & Café, Mercury Cruise Lines & Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, Downtown Docks, Chicago Electric Boats, Chicago Cycleboats, Sweet Home Gelato, O’Brien’s Riverwalk Café and Urban Kayaks.

The Riverwalk path, which spans the main branch of the Chicago River between Lake Street and the lakefront, is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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