CHICAGO (CBS) — No more sitting inside some Chicago bars.
That’s just one of the tough new rules from the city on Monday, after a surge in cases of COVID-19 in young people.
As CBS 2′ Jim Williams reported, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called it a “retightening.”
It happened so fast for Jason Freiman’s eight bars and restaurants, which went from a vibrant operation to a complete shutdown at the start of the pandemic.
“On March 15 we had 135 employees. On March 17 we went down to three,” Freiman said.
That was followed by 10 very difficult weeks. Then light at the end of the tunnel, as the economy and his establishments started reopening. Now two of his bars have to shut down. Again.
“I think the mayor is in a really tough place. We have to balance in the needs of the public and safety but the businesses, particularly hospitality, we’re all hanging on by a thread,” Freiman said.
Alarmed by rising COVID-19 cases, especially among the young in Chicago, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said “personal services requiring the removal of face masks such as shaves and facials are no longer allowed.” Also:
*Indoor fitness classes reduced to a maximum of 10.
*No more than six people at restaurant tables.
*And inside bars that don’t serve food cannot stay open.
That explains why two of Freiman’s bars have to close. He sees a long recovery ahead for his business and for the economy.
“This is going be a problem for the 12 to 16 months easily. So that’s the real issue for the small businesses,” Freiman said. “How do we manage through the next 12 to 16 months?”
Meanwhile, the new rules also mean Kelly Mack can no longer do facials at her Absolute Precision Skin Care spa, at 1421 W. Belmont Ave.
“Clients have actually said they’re feeling safer coming to us than even going to their grocery store,” Mack said.
Mack said she has taken several precautions to keep her clients and her staff safe.
“We have filters in every single room that’s filtering out bacteria and viruses. Therapists are wearing the facial masks, and we’re wearing face shields. We’re taking our clients temperatures. We’re banning clients that have traveled anywhere within the last 14 days,” she said.
Mack said she and other spa owners are hoping to make a formal appeal to the mayor. Their livelihood is at stake, they say.
“It’s been my job for the last 15 years. It’s what pays my bills. It’s so I can pay my health insurance,” she said. “It’s so disheartening. It’s heartbreaking.”