At least three restaurants already struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic were dealt another setback Sunday when their outdoor dining tents were vandalized.
The manager of Formento's Italian restaurant, 925 W. Randolph St., learned his establishment's tent was tagged with graffiti after seeing photos on social media.
"For struggling businesses that are having to go through situations like this, just an unforeseen, extra work on top of it, and extra spending... it ruins the experience for guests trying to have a good time," manager Richard Koskowski said.
Bar Siena, 832 W. Randolph St., as well as a third business on nearby Green Street, were also targeted.
While several of the restaurants along Randolph Street have security cameras, footage didn't capture the crimes in action.
In a statement, Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association said "seeing these tents defaced is a complete insult to the hardworking restaurant owners who are simply trying to survive this crisis. The perpetrators should be caught and charged.”
On Sunday, Koskowski, the Formento's manager, arrived at work early to clean up the tent before opening the restaurant to customers.
"It's sad that it happens anytime, but around the holidays when people are supposed to be thankful and appreciative of things, and this is what the outcome is sometimes," he said.
Formento's filed a report with the Chicago Police Department, and as of Sunday evening, the other establishments were considering doing the same.