CHICAGO (CBS) — We’re learning from the Illinois Department of Employment Security that the recent rise in unemployment can be linked to layoffs at restaurants.
And late Thursday, we were just a couple of hours away from a ban on indoor dining in Chicago due to spiking coronavirus infection numbers. It comes as more businesses are shutting their doors for good, or temporarily.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, one of those businesses that is shuttering temporarily – with temporarily, in this case, being measured in months – is Revolution Brewing, which is closing its brewpub at 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Logan Square for the whole winter.
Revolution Brewing is one of Chicago’s most recognizable names in beer. It announced on social media that the brewpub will be closing until March 2021, though its taproom at 3340 N. Kedzie Ave. will remain open for contact-free curbside pickup.
“People are going to be going onto unemployment, and it’s not fun to ever tell someone that that’s their best option right now,” said Revolution Brewing founder and “Chairman of the Party” Josh Deth.
But Deth said it just doesn’t make business sense to keep the brewpub running, especially with those tighter indoor dining restrictions coming Friday.
“We were losing more money being open than the cost it’ll be to keep storefront dark, pay the taxes and, and cover everybody’s insurance for this period of time,” he said.
Earlier Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced the second round of small business grants.
“We hope these grants will keep these businesses going,” the governor said. “We want to make sure that you get the opportunity to get these grants.”
More than $46 million in relief funds are intended to help 1,200 small business. About $20 million goes directly to bars and restaurants.
Lo Rez Brewery & Tap Room, at 2101 S. Carpenter St. in Pilsen, received $20,000 during the first round of similar grants.
“Twenty grand is 20 grand,” said Dave Dahl, co-founder of Lo Rez Brewring. “That’s crazy, and we’re incredibly grateful.”
But while Dahl said sure, the cash helps, it’s not a long-term fix.
“Twenty grand doesn’t go a long way,” he said. “The financial situation we’re in is more grim than 20 grand.”
In fact, at least four Chicago restaurants that received a total of $80,000 during the first round of Illinois Business Interruption Grants have since gone out of business.
It’s dark reality some are facing, and one that Revolution Brewing is hoping to avoid by temporarily stopping the taps.
“It’s tough,” Deth said. “It’s awesome thinking about opening a business. It gets you so excited. You never – you hate to think about ever having to close it.”
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