SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — As COVID-19 cases rise in Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker is implementing new restrictions at restaurants and bars across the Chicago suburbs and in the city this week.
But the governor is getting criticism from mayors who say they will not enforce it.
Come Friday, venues will say goodbye to indoor dining once again. Establishments will have to shut down by 11 p.m., as well.
These are part of the new restrictions put in place by Pritzker after three straight weeks of rising COVID-19 infection rates in the city.
According to the Illinois Restaurant Association, 5,000 restaurants have already gone out of business since the pandemic began. The organization penned a letter to the governor asking for rules to be changed.
Some even wonder why other businesses are allowed to operate, but restaurants have already are forced to take a hit.
“Temporarily halting indoor, in person eating and drinking operations has been practiced not just here but around the world. Why? Because the scientific research proves that these are the activities that cultivate exposure and spread,” Pritzker said.
More suburban mayors are joining together to fight the new restrictions.
Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler posted a letter to residents on Facebook, saying, “The governor’s order is self-serving since he allows customers to go into restaurants with gambling machines and gamble since the state gets 30% of the gambling money.”
Weppler plans to not enforce the new restrictions on restaurants, along with mayors from Aurora and Itasca. Others have asked the question what is the difference between dining in and eating-in tents.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also objected initially, arguing that the ban would turn restaurant patrons into hosts of private parties where the spread is just as likely.
But Lightfoot backtracked on Wednesday after an hourlong conversation with Pritzker. She said she would not challenge the governor but repeated a warning about private gatherings.
“You are not safe in your home, you cannot let down your guard,” Lightfoot said. “If they’re not a family member, an immediate family member in your household, you should not be having dinner parties or weekend parties, card games, all the things that we know that people love and enjoy.”