Chicago Coronavirus

2 Chicago Restaurants Close After Coronavirus Exposure

Outdoor dining reopened in Chicago last month and indoor dining began Friday with capacity restrictions as the city entered phase four of its reopening plan

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Two Chicago restaurants have closed their doors following coronavirus exposure as dining resumed in limited fashion in the city during the pandemic.

Fork in the city's Lincoln Square neighborhood became the latest to shut its doors temporarily, announcing Monday that the restaurant "had exposure to Covid-19."

"The safety of our guests and staff is our top priority so out of an abundance of caution we have temporarily closed and will plan to reopen again on Wednesday, July 8th pending the staffs test results," the eatery wrote on Facebook. "We are taking the necessary steps to be able to reopen including staff testing and conducting a thorough cleaning."

It remains unclear how or when the restaurant became exposed, but the restaurant said it plans to reopen next week.

"We look forward to seeing all your smiling faces again on July 8. Thank you for your patience, support and understanding," the post read.

Last week, Longman and Eagle announced a staff member had tested positive for the virus and the restaurant would be shutting down temporarily.

"Longman & Eagle has had an employee test positive for COVID-19," the restaurant posted on Instagram. "Accordingly, we have shut our business down, effective immediately. We will remain closed until we can provide a healthy, safe working environment for our staff and then our guests. We will reopen when we — all of us — are comfortable doing so. In the meantime, staff is quarantining and being tested, and the space is undergoing a thorough sanitation. We appreciate your patience and understanding."

Outdoor dining reopened in Chicago last month and indoor dining began Friday with capacity restrictions as the city entered phase four of its reopening plan.

Some have since expressed concern over the safety of restaurant workers as reopening continues.

An employee at a popular eatery in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood published an open letter to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asking for specific guidelines to protect servers, bartenders and other restaurant workers in the coronavirus era.

In the passionate letter published to Medium, Don Woolf, who has worked in the food service industry for over 20 years, criticized state and city leadership for not adequately addressing the concerns of restaurant employees in their phase three recommendations.

“The guidelines do absolutely nothing to ensure the safety and health of restaurant workers. Instead, they put us in danger.”

Among several concerns, Woolf writes that the current guidance does not go far enough to hold restaurants accountable when it comes to reporting cases and protecting staff, writing management is being left to “self-monitor, self-regulate and self-police.”  

“Your favorite bistro might just be the next coronavirus hotspot, though you’ll never know it…People are broke, scared, and desperate. No one will want to lose shifts or have their restaurant shut down a second time. No one wants the publicity. No one will report COVID-19 cases.”

Woolf goes on to raise questions about how workers can protect themselves from the virus, writing guidance is limited on how to safely perform their duties beyond hand washing.  Current Illinois guidelines require servers to wear face coverings, while customers may remove theirs when seated.

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