Business Owners React to Chicago's Plan to Retighten Some Coronavirus Restrictions

Gyms, restaurants, salons and bars are impacted by the new rules

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Chicago is partially rolling back its reopening.

New guidelines were announced Monday that impact bars, restaurants, salons and gyms. The mayor's office says the precautionary move is in response to a recent increase in community cases of the virus.

The reinstatement of certain restrictions will go into effect Friday, July 24 at 12:01 a.m., in order to allow businesses time to prepare.

"Because I’m an 'Old World' style barbershop, it affects me dramatically. Almost 50% of my income," said Brady McNealy, the owner of Luxe Barber and Shave Lounge located in the Palmer House Hotel.

McNealy had already implemented stringent cleaning procedures, investing in hot steam machines to disinfect equipment and provides every customer with his own brush and razor. The new rules will hit his business hard.

"It affects me a lot. I’m the first African American to have their own salon in the Palmer House. I was looking forward to that. That’s why I came here," said McNealy. "We all have to be supportive of one another. I get it, but it hurts."

Another barbershop owner wishes the city would have consulted them first.

"I think they should do their due diligence and really scour the city instead of putting a blanket rule across because I mean everyone works differently and everyone’s services aren’t the same," said Maestro Walker, who owns MaestroShave in River North.

Walker has been in business since 2014, and is currently only seeing half of the clients he normally would during the busy summer months. These new restrictions are another setback.

"I don’t think that’s fair for the business, and the economy isn’t going to survive, he said. "Small businesses are going to lose every time."

Gyms are feeling the impact, too. Crosstown Fitness is a hit studio with three locations in Chicago. Group classes make up at least 80% of their business. The facilities had only been open for two weeks indoors before Monday's announcement.

"It’s definitely going to affect us. We’ll be adding a lot more outdoor classes to try and adjust," said Alex Barone, the area director.

The mayor's office says Chicago is not near the peak of the pandemic from earlier this year, but because of a steady increase in new cases they hope these new restrictions will limit further community spread, especially among young people.

"We really do make these decisions based on the data" said Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

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