By Joe Boyle
Phase 4 of the state guidelines to deal with COVID-19 is just around the corner in Illinois and Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton is eager to see the transformation.
"We are due to to move into Phase 4 of Restoring Illinois and this means that restaurants can open their interiors to limited capacity, as well as continuing to serve on outdoor patios," Sexton said. "They have been for a while. Glad to get them and all of our businesses operating again. Please visit them."
Restaurants across the state are set to open for indoor dining on Friday, June 26 among other additions to allowable activities under the state's Restore Illinois plan. The state released new guidance for reopening businesses on Monday.
Restaurants must arrange their seating facilities so that tables are six feet apart, and parties larger than 10 people will not be allowed, per state guidelines. Standing areas such as bars will be allowed at no more than 25 percent of capacity, and staff is required to wear face coverings when serving customers.
Gatherings of 50 people — up from 10 — will be allowed in Illinois, including at weddings and funerals. This also includes fitness centers, movie theaters, museums and zoos. They will be allowed to reopen with capacity limits and health guidelines in place. Industry-specific guidelines from the state can be found at illinois.gov/businessguidelines.
Sexton said that many restaurants have been offering outdoor dining in Evergreen Park, including Barraco's Pizza, 3701 W. 95th St.; The Red Palm, 3020 W. 95th St.; Tavern in the Green, 3422 W. 95th St.; and the Unidad Restaurant, 3339 W. 95th St..
Along with more dining options, Sexton is pleased that more activities are being offered for youths and teens.
The full-day summer camp for 2020 is being offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, July 6 through Friday, Aug. 7 at the Evergreen Park Community Center, 3450 W. 97th St. The program is for kids ages 6 to 11 and is for Evergreen Park residents only.
Due to the coronavirus, modifications for the camp have had to be made. No early drop-off and late pick-up services will be provided this summer. The fee for the camp is $600 with no additional costs. The fee must be paid in full at registration. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card.
Campers need to bring their own cloth mask every day to camp. Lunches brought to camp each must be in disposable containers that will be thrown away after lunch. Space is limited and staff said that they can only accommodate 64 campers this summer due to state guidelines. Registration is still available at the Community Center through Friday, June 26. Registration is offered at the center from 9 a.m. to noon.
A variety of other camps are available, including a dance camp. More information can be obtained by calling the Evergreen Park Recreation Department, (708) 229-3373.
Sexton said that residents overall have been adhering to state guidelines by wearing face coverings and keeping social distancing. He reminds everyone to stay safe and continue to follow precautions.
"Just a reminder that this is the year of the U.S. Census," Sexton added. "They have mailed you the surveys, most of which you can do online. Get those done if you have not done so already. Ultimately, that helps our village and the things with which we can provide for you."
The mayor also mentioned that youth sports classes will also be offered. Youth archery, for ages 7 to 12, will be held Mondays from 5 to 5:45 p.m. July 6 through Aug. 10. The session will be at Yukich Fields, 8900 S. Kedzie Ave., Evergreen Park.
Archery participants will learn the parts of an arrow and recurve bow, the basics of using a recurve bow, and fundamental shooting skills in a safe environment. The fee is $36 for residents and $41 for non-residents.
Outdoor ball hockey will be offered on Mondays from July 6 through Aug. 10 at Yukich Fields. Instruction for youths ages 6 to 8 will be held from 6 to 6:45 p.m. The fee is $36 for residents and $41 for non-residents. Youths ages 9 to 11 will be offered from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. at Yukich Fields. The fee is $48 for residents and $54 for non-residents. The class will include stick handling, passing, shooting and goalie techniques as well as team drills.
"We are here to serve you and that has not stopped, even though we had to change the way we do things," Sexton said.
More information about activities in Evergreen Park can be obtained on the village website at www.evergreenpark-ill.com.
Contributing to this story was Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois.