CHICAGO (CBS) — Restaurant workers are wondering when it’s their turn at the vaccine.
Restaurants in Chicago are now able to seat at 50% capacity. But one restaurant owner in the city is taking a unique approach and holding off until all of his employees can get a shot.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Rain Tapers Saturday Night, But More Scattered Showers Sunday
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reports from Andersonville.
When it comes to restaurant reopening, Big Jones Southern Kitchen is letting things simmer.
“We were very cautious to reopen,” said chef and co-owner Paul Fehribach. “We didn’t actually reopen our dining room until last weekend.”
And cautious they’ll remain. Under the current guidelines in Chicago, Big Jones could seat 40 people, but they’re sticking to no more than 18.
“We made the decision that we’re going to stay at 25% capacity at least until our staff can get vaccinated,” Fehribach said.
Fehribach said they’re disappointed they weren’t in line sooner with group 1B.READ MORE: At Least 16 People Shot, 1 Killed In Gun Violence In Chicago This Weekend
“We are essential workers, we’re frontline workers,” Fehribach said. “My employees work in a dining room where guests remove their masks. They don’t remove their masks at a grocery store.”
Fehribach said in the push to reopen restaurants, the ones he sees leading the loudest charge are other owners.
“If you talk to restaurant workers, you’re going to hear a lot of concern about safety,” Fehribach said. “If you talk to restaurant owners, no. A lot of restaurant owners are all about money and they just want to be open and seat as many people as they can seat.”
Fehribach said they’re operating with about half the revenue they were making this same time last year. Sticking to sustainable ingredients, he looks at cooking through the same lens he uses to run his restaurant — with the belief that the easy way isn’t always the right way.
“Operating safely is the most important thing. You can’t put a price on a life,” Fehribach said. “Nobody wants to bring COVID home to their family or to their friends or roommates.”
Restaurant workers will have their chance at the vaccine in Group 1C.MORE NEWS: At Bond Hearing For Man Authorities Say Was With Him, Prosecutors Say 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo Had Gun In Hand When He Was Fatally Shot By Police
The city’s top doc said as of right now, that phase is set to begin on March 29. Fehribach said he’ll wait as long as his employees need him to.