JB Pritzker

Chicago Restaurants Cry Foul On Return Of State's Indoor Dining Ban

With a return of an indoor dining ban, Chicago restaurants are getting closer to a grim reality of tough decisions before the slow winter months arrive

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Earlier this week, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced mitigation efforts for several areas in the state, including Chicago, and as residents can imagine, the decision to shut down indoor dining is being met with anger from business owners already suffering since the first round of restrictions in March.

“We make four to six pennies on a dollar,” said the CFO of Phil Stafani Restaurants, Steven Hartenstein. “How in the world can we survive?”

Hartenstein says customers and employees were just starting to trust in the safe operations of restaurants but will be forced to furlough employees again.

He says the government must come up with a financial package to help the restaurant industry survive.

“I feel like the restaurant industry has been singled out without fact and it’s just not fair,” said Hartenstein.

With Chicago averaging more than 900 coronavirus cases per day, Pritzker defended his decision on Wednesday, even as Chicago’s mayor initially disagreed with his decision.

 “They’ve been struggling since March. They are the industry that’s been most impacted,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The governor also pointed out that more than 600 Chicago businesses have taken advantage of business interruption grants. For more information on applying for a grant, click here.

Edie’s All Day Café in River North changed its business model to “fast-casual” in order to weather the restrictions during the pandemic.

“You can’t just say you’re one direction because there are so many people that are counting on us to be able to be in business,” said Edie’s owner Arturo Gomez.

The new restrictions are set to take effect Friday, although some groups have hinted at seeking a temporary injunction to prevent the rules from being enforced.

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