MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. (CBS) — Indoor dining is still happening despite Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s recent ban, and that is putting all restaurants in a tough spot.
One owner in Mount Prospect says she is feeling bullied for following the rules.
It’s has been a week and a day since the start of the ban on indoor dining for suburban Cook County. It is just as sticky of an issue now as it was then with businesses figuring out how to keep customers happy, including ones who still want to eat inside.
What the staff at Mt. Prospect’s Qulinarnia know is mouthwatering Polish food, but knowing how to serve it in a pandemic has been tough. They have made adjustments to keep making money, even with an empty room.
Owner Agnieszka Janowska followed Pritzker’s order to stop indoor dining last week. What she didn’t expect was backlash from customers.
“Some people were saying to me, ‘OK, you’re chicken because you don’t want to open,'” said Janowska. “I felt like some people didn’t respect my decision.”
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In a frustrated Facebook post, Janowska asked for that respect, saying she also respects those who have stayed open. And CBS 2 found one of those restaurants, just a few villages over.
“They appreciate. Lots of people say, ‘Thank you. We are with you,'” said one woman who owns a spot still hosting indoor seating and still drawing customers.
She asked to hide her identity because local government has called her to explain the state order, but she is willing to defy it to keep herself and her staff afloat.
“If I close right now I will never reopen, she said. “If I stay open maybe I’ll survive.”
Some villages are working to enforce the governor’s order. Schaumburg says it is responding to complaints of restaurants that don’t comply, then its health division investigates.
Mount Prospect says it has not had any complaints yet and is leaving the decision to close or not up to individual businesses.
Janowska has made hers. And she asks for understanding.
“Please respect my decision, too,” she said.”
The ban is really hitting family owned businesses the hardest. The owner of the one still open inside says she will keep it that way until she is legally forced to close.