Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new initiative on Thursday aimed at supporting bars and restaurants as indoor dining has once again been halted amid a surge of coronavirus cases across the city and state.
'Take Out Chicago' was designed to help boost the struggling hospitality industry by offering residents who order take out from 10 different bars and restaurants between now and Dec. 15 entry into a contest to win a VIP tour to various places like Soldier Field and the Art Institute.
“Our neighborhood restaurants and bars make up the backbone of so many communities across the city and if we want them to survive, and of course we do, we all need to show them our love and our support, and particularly patronize them in this difficult time,” Lightfoot said during a press conference on Thursday.
Residents who wish to enter the contest should submit their names and a list of the places they ordered take out from using a portal on the city’s website.
Lightfoot also announced three other initiatives that target bolstering the hospitality industry including a $10 million grant program to assist bars and restaurants that have had to shut down indoor dining service.
Lightfoot said applications will be available beginning Nov. 16 and the grants, made possible through reallocation of the CARES Act funding, will be distributed by the end of the year.
“We know that there's a sense of urgency around getting these grant funds into the hands of our small businesses, and we're going to do everything we can to expedite the process as quickly as possible,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot also announced the city will look at introducing legislature that would restrict fees that third party delivery companies charge to ‘put more money in the hands of restaurants and bars’ and launching chiserves.com, a website to help displaced hospitality workers.
Chicago suspended indoor dining and drinking on Oct. 30 amid a significant rise in confirmed coronavirus cases across Illinois.
On Thursday, Illinois saw a record-high number of new coronavirus cases as the state simultaneously cross a grim milestone.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state saw 9,935 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, a record high for the pandemic so far, along with 97 additional deaths, the highest daily death toll since June 4.
The new fatalities lift the statewide death total above 10,000 at 10,030 as of Thursday afternoon.