Chicago Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, pushed back late Tuesday evening on the Illinois Govern order to suspend indoor dining and drinking in Chicago. In an order to stop a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases, it is the latest sign of a serious divide between the officials leading the effort to stem the pandemic. The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) supports Mayor Lightfoot’s efforts to save jobs and hundreds of small businesses from a sad ending.
Four months after reopening from the first devastating coronavirus shutdown, Chicago restaurateurs will once again be forced to close their dining rooms again. “If the governor’s order goes into effect, it’s shutting down a significant portion of our economy at a time when those same businesses are hanging on by a thread,” mayor Lightfoot said.
“The truth is that where we’re seeing the greatest challenges is in people’s homes, in social-sector settings that are not public. That’s harder to regulate,” said Jaime di Paulo, President & CEO of the IHCC.
We all need small businesses. Don’t let them die. The economy relies on thousands of local operations that need urgent help even more than big companies do”, di Paulo added.
The Illinois government ordered the restrictions after Chicago recorded a significant increase in its test positivity rate during the past month, as well as a sustained increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations for more than seven of the past 10 days.
In July, the Illinois Department of Health published its Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan, which laid out the metrics that would trigger restrictions on nonessential businesses and gatherings.
“The governor and I are aligned that we need residents to mask-up and follow the city and state’s health guidance in order to reverse these recent troubling trends, but we must remain in lockstep when it comes to the rollout of new restrictions,” Lightfoot said.
“Even amid the pandemic, I urge residents to continue to find ways to support our small businesses and their local communities.”
Most of the new confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been traced to contact in people’s homes and among friends, Mayor Lightfoot said.
“Hospitalizations are not at the breaking point that we feared in the spring, and that’s an important metric,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “We have to be surgical in the way we impose restrictions.”
Since it has become clear that Chicago, suburban Cook County and the rest of Illinois are experiencing a second wave of the pandemic, Mayor Lightfoot and Governor JB Pritzker have been at odds, first over the role that bars and restaurants are playing in fueling the spread and now over Pritzker’s decision to roll back Chicago’s opening.