Seventy local businesses met Thursday night, agreeing to keep serving customers indoors despite a new state order, a Bradley restaurant owner said.
Thomas Spellman, owner of Hoppy Pig, said his restaurant will continue serving patrons inside, defying Gov. J.B. Pritzker's new order on some regions to cease indoor dining to lessen the spread of the coronavirus.
"We have families. I have forty employees, you know, they have families, they have houses and they have kids and they have to pay for school," Spellman said. "The government’s not paying for them. We don’t want the government to pay for us. We just want to do business the way we do business."
Stafan and Ari Frunze, owners of Stefari Cafe in Kankakee, said they feel as though they are being unfairly targeted by the new mitigations.
"We always been doing everything that’s right but for some reason we are always the one being punished the most and like I don’t understand why," Stafan said. "I don’t think it’s fair."
The two added that carry out orders during the pandemic will not be enough for their business to remain open.
"We will serve customers by just taking everything in consideration," Ari said. Health and safety is first. We get that it is very important to social distance. We’re doing everything we’re advised to do."
Spiro Roumpas, owner of Ki’s Steak and Seafood in Glendale Heights, said his business is following social distancing and mask guidelines.
“I’m not forcing any employees to be here, this is all by their will. I’m not forcing customers to be here. I totally respect and understand if somebody chooses not to come here,” Roumpas said.
Roumpas posted his announcement to Facebook on Wednesday and said the reaction has been mostly positive.
“They’re going by everybody’s rules and staying apart from everybody and cleaning and disinfecting and I don’t see a problem with it,” customer Ron Tenut said.
“We’re here to say we’re open and we believe we live in a free country,” Roumpas added.
Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker said state police can issue citations to restaurants and bars that defy a state order, potentially removing their liquor licenses.
The Illinois governor said police will likely start with issuing warnings prior to giving citations for neglecting to follow his new requirements for four regions.
“I’m not trying to do this to be a martyr or hero,” Roumpas said. “I’m just trying to do this to put food on my table, to put food on my employees table to and to keep the community going.”