By | Rachel Brooks
Staff | Telegraph Local
Above, Illinois Restaurant Association president speaks with WGN-TV on a broadcast last week urging Illinois to reopen restaurants by June 1.
Governor Pritzker is all set to allow for outdoor restaurant seating in his next reopening stage plan. This was initially reported by NBC 5 within the last eight hours. This move is a shift from the state’s original guidelines. Restaurants will still not be able to reopen for dine-in indoors seating until phase four. Outdoor seating will be allowed in phase 3.
Pritzker’s decision to reopen bars and restaurants was reported also by the Chicago Tribune.
“After listening to and working with restaurant industry representatives together with our epidemiologists, today, I’m announcing an additional option for bars and restaurants interested in resuming operations earlier: opening for outdoor seating when phase three begins, likely for everyone just nine days from now,” said Pritzker in a daily coronavirus briefing, as quoted by NBC.
NBC also stated that Pritzker released an official statement regarding the restaurant reopening phases.
“In the midst of this coronavirus pandemic, all Illinoisans have been forced to carry out a very difficult task of fighting against an enemy you can’t see until you or your loved ones fall sick. Slowing it down has required us to stay home and stay apart for two months already. And the virus has brought with it an enormous financial toll on workers and families,” said Pritzker, opening the statement as it was quoted by NBC.
Within the body of his message, Pritzker addressed the importance of the restaurant to the heart of Chicago.
“Every day from the beginning of this pandemic, my team and I have been in close consultation with public health experts both inside and outside government to discuss when and how we can return different elements of everyday life for Illinoisans. Our mission has always been to get people back to work, get students back to school and return to as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing the health and safety of Illinoisans. To do so, we’ve listened and learned and tracked the science and the data every day to ensure we are taking the best approach possible. Based on that work, the experts have indicated we can build onto our plan to bring back more activities faster, as long as Illinoisans continue to do as we have, adhering to precautions and safety measures to keep each other safe.
I want to begin with bars and restaurants – many of which are the beloved institutions that make the cities and towns of Illinois so special – the local diner, the corner bar with friendly servers and bartenders and owners known to the whole community. Tragically they were some of the first and hardest hit by this pandemic,” said Pritzker, as quoted by NBC.
As for Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has not expressly commented via social media regarding governor Pritzker’s announcement. It is unclear how she plans to proceed with the restaurant outdoor dining phasing. Rather, she commemorated her year in office as the Illinois General Assembly reconvened. Lightfoot has also frequently retweeted posts regarding the WC Kitchens initiative to feed the city during the coronavirus crisis.