CHICAGO — How the heck are Chicagoans going to dine al fresco in the winter? A genius idea could put $5,000 in your pocket. City officials partnered with BMO Harris Bank and the Illinois Restaurant Association to launch the Winter Design Challenge in attempt to find creative ways to keep restaurants serving outdoors safely amid the coronavirus crisis during cold months.
“While we’ve had to implement restrictions and take hard measures to combat a recent rise in COVID-19 activity, we will continue to ensure our restaurants, bars and businesses have the supports they need to survive during these unprecedented times,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “We are asking our community members to come together and think creatively about how we can make outdoor dining feasible in the winter.”
Between Tuesday and Sept. 7, Chicagoans will be able to submit their ideas online for outdoor stand-alone buildings, indoor-adjacent dining and cultural shifts that make cold-weather dining more appealing. Winners in each category will receive $5,000 and the chance to pilot their idea at restaurants and bars in Chicago.
“Our restaurants and bars are the heart and soul of the city, and we must do everything possible to keep them operational during the harsh winter months,” Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia said in a statement. “We need out-of-the-box thinking to address the hardship facing our industry. The Winter Design Challenge demonstrates the City’s support of innovation in these trying times, and we look forward to ideas that are both creative and operationally attainable for our members.”
For more details on the Winter Design Challenge, click here.
This article originally appeared on the Chicago Patch