CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the restaurant industry is suffering, but she won’t fight the ban on indoor service beginning Friday. She talked with Gov. JB Pritzker Wednesday for about an hour.
“We had a very frank but productive conversation,” she said. “We have committed to make sure that we continue to work together. I’m not filing a legal challenge, and obviously we’ve been working in partnership with the state from the very beginning and we’re going to continue to do that.”
The decision is a blow to businesses hoping to profit off Halloween, and owners say they are scared.
Taylor Street in Little Italy usually sees a lot of families on Halloween. This year there are no crowds and now business.
Little Joe’s Bar had big plans for a happy Halloween.
“Our four dollar well cocktails, three dollar domestics and some fun Halloween themed specialty shots,” said manager Shannon Speese.
The spooky decorations are out. Kids who see them from outside marvel as workers usually hand them candy, but not this year.
“This is hard, no doubt, and we are a big heartbroken,” Speese said.
Sweet treats now sit on bar tables for customers. The liquor is all stocked and ready to go, but most of it won’t be sold.
“Bot those things will be available until close of business tomorrow,” she said.
They have made the call to close because of barely any warm outdoor seating. It comes as Gov. JB Pritzker orders bars and restaurants across the state to stop indoor service Friday.
The governor blames rising COVID-19 cases. Wednesday Chicago saw a 7.6% positivity rate. Last week it was 6.1%.
While some suburban businesses are defying the order, this Chicago bar does not plan to shake things up.
“Frankly, after operating for how long now at 25% capacity or being shut down or only to-go cocktails, we just don’t have the revenue to pay these fines,” she said. “This is horrible. It’s a tragedy.”
Across the street Tuscany Taylor Restaurant is now pivoting sales strategy by selling items half price. The group that owns it took conference calls for hours Wednesday trying to figure out next steps at seven restaurants. Eight others were already closed.
“Some that we’re going to be closing for good come Monday, we were barely, barely surviving. We cut our losses the past couple of months. And that was during the summer months,” said Steve Hartenstein of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants.
The Illinois Restaurant Association has started an online initiative urging people to email the governor and general assembly and ask that they reconsider. They say closing restaurants will only drive more people to congregate at more, unmonitored private gatherings.