With COVID-19 cases rising in Illinois, operators of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in heavily populated areas face new shutdowns — measures likely to be all the more painful economically because of looming winter weather that will make options such as outdoor dining unattractive, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
The state Department of Public Health reported Sunday (Oct. 25) that the seven-day positive rate for testing is 6.1 percent and that 2,605 patients were hospitalized, including 565 patients in intensive care units and 214 on ventilators.
On Friday, the agency announced that 51 counties — the state has 102 — had reached the official warning level. If various measures of COVID-19 risk hit certain levels in any of seven regions established by the state, certain restrictions kick in.
“Although the reasons for counties reaching a warning level varies, some of the common factors for an increase in cases and outbreaks are associated with gatherings in people’s homes, weddings and funerals, bars and clubs, university and college parties as well as college sports teams, family gatherings, long-term care facilities, correctional centers, schools, and cases among the community at large, especially people in their 20s,” the announcement stated. “Public health officials are observing businesses blatantly disregarding mitigation measures, people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings. Mayors, local law enforcement, state’s attorneys, and other community leaders can be influential in ensuring citizens and businesses follow best practices.”
On Thursday, Chicago issued a curfew requiring that many businesses — including dine-in restaurants — close from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
WSJ quoted numerous business owners lamenting the state of affairs and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot saying, “What none of us want is even further restrictions as we move into the holiday season, impacting Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas traditions, but that is exactly the path we are on right now.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that some business owners are likely to push back against the latest restrictions.
Business Insider suggested that the salvation for Chicago businesses any be the kotatsu — a Japanese heated table that diners reportedly find extremely cozy in chilly weather.