As you are no doubt aware, Governor Pritzker announced on Sunday that all bars and restaurants will close to the public for dine-in service at 9 p.m. tonight, Monday, March 16 through Monday, March 30. The Governor has taken this action based on the recommendation of public health professionals that “social distancing” is the paramount strategy for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
The state is working closely with restaurant owners and food delivery services to ensure kitchens can safely remain open to continue food delivery, carry-out, drive-thru and curbside pickup options for restaurants to serve the public during the next two weeks.
Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia said the Governor’s decision is necessary to protect the health and safety of customers and employees. Mr. Toia said the association will lobby on behalf of financial relief for bars and restaurants as they are forced to close their doors. Most of our local bars and restaurants are small businesses and family-owned; and will no doubt experience serious hardship as a result of this closure. The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering financial assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. If you are an employer interested in applying for federal assistance, please click HERE.
I recognize that the Governor’s decision puts the livelihood of those who work in the food service industry at risk. Individuals without access to paid sick leave, or who are unable to work due to COVID-19, are encouraged to apply for unemployment insurance by calling the Illinois Department of Employment Security toll free at 1-800-244-5631 or online at https://www2.illinois.gov/ides.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should call a health care provider who will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure. The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.
Please feel welcome to contact my office with any questions or concerns at (815) 416-1475 or e-mail me at email@example.com. I will continue to share updated news and public resources as this public health emergency develops. Until then, everyone please stay safe and follow the guidance of state and local authorities so that we can protect the health of the most vulnerable in our community; the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
State Rep. David Allen Welter