CHICAGO (CBS) — At 9 p.m. Monday, every restaurant and bar in the state of Illinois will close its doors.
Earlier in the evening, as some employees prepared for unemployment, restaurant owners expressed hope that a takeout-only business model could keep them afloat.
CBS 2’s Chris Tye examined the scene Monday from Rush and Oak streets, as everyone awaited the new normal to set in.
Some restaurants will not make it – that is what insiders say about the two-week shutdown that could last longer.
An entire industry has been forced to reinvent itself in little more than a day.
In the kitchens of Illinois eateries, they’re hungry for packaging.
Soon, to-go boxes will be the only way they move product – as restaurants shift exclusively to drive-through, delivery, and curbside pickup.
Restaurant Depot is where professional kitchens load up, and on Monday, the lot was full. The to-go boxes were going fast.
Mustafa Guler owns a North Side café. He thinks a haul of to-go boxes that has filled his van will only last three days.
“Tonight, we have to shut it down, and tomorrow. next days, don’t know what comes out,” Guler said.
What’s to come at the corner of Fairbanks Court and Ontario Street in Streeterville? The Timothy O’Toole’s bar family pulled together on the night before St. Patrick’s Day.
“Today’s proceeds will go to our staff,” said Andre Adriano of O’Toole’s.
Staffers have been preparing for weeks without pay. They will get the total haul of Sunday and Monday receipts.
“Very nervous – about how they are going to make their next rent payment, how they’re going to pay their bills,” Adriano said.
In recent days, it has been about keeping clean and keeping healthy. The new chore is keeping afloat as table sit empty.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that she will announce later this week new ways to provide support to restaurant and bar workers.
Experts say restaurant owners should terminate employment quickly so those employees can apply for unemployment benefits fast.