Public Way Use Permits

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 Mayor Lightfoot has implemented temporary changes to the sidewalk cafe permit to make it easier and cheaper to acquire a permit during the COVID-19 reopening:

The Small Business Center (SBC) - Public Way Use Unit (PWU) issues permits to business owners who have any items (e.g. signs, canopies, awnings, benches, sidewalk cafes, etc.) that extend out (i.e. over, under, or on) to the public way from their business locations. There are many different types of public way uses, and, the process to obtain the permit requires City Council approval.

Payments can now be made online on the City’s Payment Portal at  You will need your business account number and permit number found on your payment coupon to process.  The City of Chicago still accepts payment methods through the mail with a Personal Check, Money Order, Cashier’s Check or Certified Check.   Please include your payment coupon with your payment.  Please do not send cash payments through the mail.  Cash and other payments may be made in person at City Hall – 121 N. LaSalle Street, Room #800.

The Small Business Center – Public Way Use Unit is located at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 800. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You may schedule an appointment with a business consultant, or call our Business Call Center at 312-74-GOBIZ (744-6249).

For temporary use of the public way due to construction, applicants must obtain a Construction Canopy Permit from the Chicago Department of Transportation CDOT is located at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 905. 

Public Way Use Applications / Documents

Supporting Information
Sidewalk Café Current Permits

Related Pages
Business Licensing: What Do I Need?

Supporting Information Facts

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