The Canteen Restaurant in downtown Barrington has approval to use its parking lot for outdoor dining under the state’s reopening plan.

Game plans have been formed in Barrington and Palatine in preparation for today’s reopening of restaurants and bars with outdoor service following state guidelines.

Barrington village board members in a special meeting Thursday approved closing a section of a downtown street to accommodate two neighboring restaurants and other details for the outdoor service. In Palatine, the village council reached agreement Wednesday on matters including operating hours and use of public parking spaces.

McGonigal’s Pub and Big Iron Horse Barbecue submitted a joint plan to expand onto Park Avenue, between Cook and Station streets, for the state’s Phase 3 reopening, said Barrington Assistant to the Village Manager Melanie Marcordes. She said the establishments plan to have a combined 24 tables.

Some joints such as Egg Harbor Cafe on Main Street in downtown Barrington will use existing outdoor cafe space with minor modifications. To the south on Hough Street, the venerable Canteen Restaurant received village board approval to use its parking lot for outdoor dining.

The Barrington ordinance requires the outdoor spots to operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Read more here.

The owner of the five-bedroom, French Provincial-style mansion — the backdrop for five seasons of the now-concluded Fox hit TV series “Empire” — cut his asking price by $2 million Thursday to $7.5 million.

The $2 million reduction shows how motivated owner Salvatore “Sam” Cecola is, listing agent Michael LaFido of @properties told Elite Street. Cecola, who had the mansion built in 2008, first listed it for $15.9 million in 2013, and then reduced it to $13 million in 2015, $12.5 million in 2016 and $9.5 million in June 2019. The latest reduction means Cecola has dropped his asking price by half since first listing it.

On “Empire,” the 17,597-square-foot mansion is the home of record mogul Lucious Lyon, who is played by Terrence Howard. And Cecola now has adopted Lyon’s surname as the mansion’s name, dubbing it the Lyons Mansion, LaFido said.

Read more here.

Related: They’re finally marketing the ‘Empire’ mansion as the ‘Empire’ mansion

The Barrington METRA station appeared all but vacant this morning at 9:30 AM.

As Illinois and the Chicago region move toward establishing a “new normal” in the time of COVID-19, Metra is providing more details about the steps it is taking to ensure passengers will feel safe using its system.

“We know more than ever that passengers need to feel safe and confident using our service,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “We know more than ever the importance of providing a clean, hygienic experience on the platforms and on the trains. And we know more than ever the need to promote safe and healthy practices, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings.”

Social distancing/train schedules

Metra will provide an opportunity for responsible physical distancing on its trains as much as and as long as possible. In general, Metra will aim for trains that are no more than about half full: one passenger per two-seater on the lower level and one passenger per every other seat on the upper level. (There will be exceptions for families or others travelling together.)

Metra will continue to use the current alternate weekday schedules (view them here) at the start of June but is adding cars to trains to make sure there is plenty of room for passengers to spread out. It will add more cars as needed. If Metra suspects there is potential for a train to become more crowded, it will try to operate an unscheduled train behind that one to aid with serving awaiting passengers, or it will start to add more scheduled trains to the line. Metra will continue to add cars and trains as ridership and travel patterns dictate.

Read the complete METRA release here.

“The members of the Barrington Area Council of Governments appreciate the efforts that have gone into developing the Restore Illinois plan. Our municipal and township governments have been compliant with the Executive Orders to keep residents safe during this COVID-19 public health situation. The Executive Board and membership have concerns, however, about provisions within the Restore Illinois plan and sent the following letter to Governor Pritzker for consideration.”

A copy of the BACOG members May 15th letter to Governor JB Pritzker can be viewed and downloaded here.

Wearing a facial covering when not eating or drinking and being careful about congregating as a group are among the differences customers will need to get used to when sit-down restaurants and bars reopen Friday with outdoor service.

“We encourage guests to be patient as restaurants adhere to the health and safety protocols in the guidelines, which were developed in collaboration with leading health and science organizations and experts,” said Sam Toia, the Illinois Restaurant Association’s president and CEO.

Those who plan to return “should wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while on premises,” except while eating and drinking at a table, according to the state. Exceptions can be made for people with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a mask.

Tables will be limited to parties of six and must be at a social distance of 6 feet apart, preferably separated by Plexiglass. Employees should wear cloth masks when within 6 feet of customers or others, per the state regulations.

Read more here.

Driver services facilities operated by the Illinois secretary of state’s office will begin reopening Monday, with the first two months reserved for new drivers, people with expired driver’s licenses or ID cards and vehicle transactions.

Due to current events, more than 700,000 expired driver’s licenses or ID cards and 1.9 million expired vehicle registrations in Illinois according to Secretary of State Jesse White.

Once the offices reopen, people will have 90 days to renew expired driver’s licenses, ID cards and vehicle registrations. People now have until Oct. 1, 2021, to get REAL ID driver’s licenses.

For more information, visit cyberdriveillinois.com.

Families in Barrington participated in Barrington Memorial Day Front Porch Cookout May 25, 2020. The family of Trustee Kate Duncan, pictured near their home, was among the participants. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

Some Barrington residents’ Memorial Day celebration included taking part in theFront Porch Cookout.”

The three-hour event Monday, which began at 5 p.m., encouraged participants to “stay with your family units and practice social distancing, but greet your neighbors and friends and celebrate the beginning of summer,” according to announcement of the event posted on the village’s website.

The ongoing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 disease altered typical Memorial Day celebration plans by many municipalities around the country. 

Barrington families were encouraged to share photos of their Monday night memories with the village of Barrington by using the hashtag #BarringtonReImagined. with the incentive prize of a gift card to a local business.

Read more here.

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