Lightfoot, restaurants across Illinois join calls for Pritzker to allow some indoor dining

CHICAGO — When it comes to reopening Chicago’s restaurants, it could soon be order up.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday the topic is on the menu when she talks to Governor JB Pritzker.

“I am very very focused on getting our restaurants to reopen,” Lightfoot said Thursday. “The various criteria the state has set, we are meeting most of those.”

A recent survey from the Illinois Restaurant Association reveals 20% of owners say they will go out of business in several months if a partial reopening doesn’t happen soon. That represents 120,000 employees statewide.

Already, many of them have gone out of business. Since Pritzker ordered indoor dining shut down in late November, those still in operation have been surviving on just takeout and delivery.

In a statement issued Thursday, the restaurant association called on the governor to, “immediately allow for safe and limited indoor dining operations.”

Earlier this week, the Chicago Restaurant Coalition began circulating a petition asking for an allowance of 20% capacity.

Executive director Roger Romanelli says in a highly-regulated sector, no one will serve up precautions better than Chicago’s eateries. 

The mayor agrees, saying opening them would also help stop people from gathering in the wrong kind of way.

“You see in a couple of things, people going into private spaces whether it’s hotel rooms, underground venues, and having these parties with no masks and putting them more at risk,” Lightfoot said.

Pritzker didn’t expressly endorse these sentiments Thursday, saying only that public health experts would, “craft mitigation measures to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.”