Chicago-Area Small Business Owners Seeking Stimulus Aid

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Chicago-area small business owners want Washington D.C. to take notice of their struggles as the government debates a new round of relief aid for businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We don’t want to be another empty building on the street of our great downtown,” said Heidi Vance, owner of Team Blonde, a boutique in Forest Park.

Vance said her business is experiencing lower revenue and higher expenses due to the pandemic.

“A stimulus package would absolutely help us, a hundred percent,” Vance said.

While nice weather in recent weeks has helped with outdoor dining, restaurant owners like Patrick O’Brien of Scratch Restaurant Group said they are concerned about how colder temperatures will impact their business.

“Without a stimulus going into the winter, I don’t know if all four of my locations will see the spring,” O’Brien said.

Jonathan Biag said he was expecting a big year at his escape room business, Escape Factor.  But the pandemic changed everything.

“Now we only have our employees coming in when we have customers coming in because we just can’t afford to have people here non-stop,” Biag said.

Biag said customers who visit his business can safely enjoy the activities in self-contained rooms.  He also said he is hopeful for stimulus aid because “every little bit will help.”

On Twitter Friday, President Trump said “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”

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