coronavirus chicago

Small Businesses Face ‘Nightmare' Scenario With Second Coronavirus Wave

Some fear restrictions will once again be placed on them just before the slow winter months, making it nearly impossible to bounce back from a rough summer

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Lincoln Square’s Bistro Campagne is already operating at 25% of normal business.

Rising costs of food, personal protection equipment and new restrictions could put the business under.

“If they restrict the inside seating, we’re basically going on fumes,” Johnathan Altenberg, president of Bistro Campagne, said. Altenberg is also the supervisor of Vernon Township.

Bistro Campagne has been in Lincoln Square for nearly 20 years.

“The idea that I’m going to have to lay these guys off again, that is really disheartening,” general manager Alex Uribe said.

On Monday, Chicago’s top doctor and Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned Chicagoans that cases were headed in the "wrong direction." Restrictions were not announced, but both warned how close the city was to possibly seeing some restrictions return.

For other small businesses who suffered through the summer with the pandemic and civil unrest, they are still trying to get back on their feet.

“The nightmare is still going on and we might lose everything,” X5 Cuts owner Mike Khateeb said.

Khateeb’s River North barbershop has seen a more than 50% drop in business since March 2020, according to its owner.

Looters have hit the store twice this year.

“This makes it 300 times worse,” Khateeb said.

With winter approaching, new restrictions may expedite the conversation small businesses have been fearing.

“The PPP loan and the SBA loans were essential to our survival and the government is going to have to come up with another solution for us,” Altenberg said.

Loyal customers may not be enough.

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