Trib: Reopen Faster

The editors of the Chicago Tribune urge Gov. Pritzker to take bolder steps to reopening Illinois:

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decision to allow Illinois restaurants to offer outdoor dining beginning May 29 is a start — a slow start to respond real-time to the coronavirus’s declining rate of infection. It will give some restaurants some business.

Pritzker is showing flexibility and that’s good. But it’s not nearly enough: How many restaurants across Chicago and Illinois can even take advantage of his new rule allowing alfresco dining? Not many, if any, in struggling neighborhoods, or even working-class ones, where sidewalk cafes and patios with kitchens are scarce. The vast majority of restaurants statewide will be stuck waiting a month or longer to open under his phased-in plan, which we described May 6 as moving the goal posts.

The governor needs to take more steps — prudent ones, not rash — to restore business activity in response to progress being made against the coronavirus. He should be making these decisions based on events as they are transpiring, not the overly cautious recovery plan that largely depends on a vaccine.

We also have urged Mayor Lori Lightfoot to get Chicago safely moving toward normalcy by reopening the lakefront and joining in Pritzker’s decision to give restaurants and small businesses options.

Mayor Lightfoot on the other hand has said that even should the State of Illinois allow outdoor dining, Chicago won’t as CBS Chicago reports:

CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite Governor JB Pritzker’s announcement that restaurants will soon be able to open in Illinois as part of the COVID-19 Phase 3 plan, there’s been a major blow to Chicago restaurant owners: they won’t be opening in May according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“We’re close but we’re not there yet,” Lightfoot said. “We are hard at work looking at ways to get our restaurant industry back up. I was heartened by what the governor said yesterday, but again got to do it safely.”

At this time Wednesday, restaurant owners were eagerly looking forward to reopening next week.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has reaction from restaurant owners. They say it’s a huge let down for Chicago’s restaurant community, which was already spacing out tables and calling back staff.

But Mayor Lightfoot has the power to place outdoor dining on hold in the city.

In bridge that’s called “cross-ruffing”. I don’t have the figures at my finger tips but I’d guess that a third or more of all the restaurants in Illinois are in the City of Chicago. How do you reopen without, you know, reopening?

2 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    I think our mayor almost immediately said he would be working on a plan that would allow streets to close to facilitate outdoor dining. I joked last night that all of the restaurants will be open soon, we’ll just need to walk over a mile to get to them.

    In some sense I think our (Democratic) mayor has been more supportive of reopening than our (Republican) county board chairman.

  • Greyshambler Link

    I know that we’re divided now whether to flatten the curve or plunge right into herd immunity
    Restaurants don’t seem to be a likely venue for super spreader events, church’s we know are, but I suspect the worst (or best) venue would be bars and bar hopping. Open them up and try to enforce distancing ( or slobbering) rules.
    That will tell the tale.

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