This article in the Chicago Tribune should give you some idea of the mood here in Illinois:
Despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent order to shut down indoor service at bars and restaurants in northwest Illinois due to the coronavirus, Fozzy’s Bar and Grill near Rockford was among those that stayed open.
Owner Nick Fosberg said he had to leave the doors open to keep his employees working, pay his bills and stay in business. He says the workers wear masks, and customers wear masks on their way in and out, while tables are spaced 6 feet apart, at 25% capacity.
“We’re sticking to what we were doing and being safe about it,” he said. “We’re getting a ton of support. People are happy someone finally stood up and said, ‘I’m not closing.’”
The restaurant rebellion comes as state officials report rising rates of infections and deaths of people with COVID-19, prompting the governor to impose further restrictions in Region 1 in northwest Illinois, which had a positivity rate of 11.9%. Starting Sunday, the governor set a limit there on gatherings to 10 people, and a maximum of six people per restaurant or bar table for outdoor service. Officials on Thursday also announced 4,942 new cases of COVID, and 44 deaths of people who tested positive for the virus.
Pritzker warned that if necessary, he would direct state police to issue fines for violators of the regulations, and would seek to have liquor and gambling licenses pulled.
“If we need to close down restaurants and bars or take away their liquor licenses or gaming licenses, we will do that,” he said. “Because we are heading now into a peak that is beyond potentially where we were in March and April.”
In response to the governor’s orders, the Illinois Restaurant Association warned that banning indoor service could force the permanent closing of at least 20% of restaurants statewide, costing 120,000 jobs, and driving people into private gatherings with few precautions.
That last is what I was talking about in my previous post. The evidence that restaurants are responsible for the uptick in cases is slim; there’s more evidence that they’re contracting the virus in their homes. It’s possible the governor’s mandate could actually increase the number of cases..
I doubt that this is the last defiant act we’ll see from Illinoisans or Illinois businesses.