Sliding Support

Appears in the March 2021 issue.

In early February, Illinois regions 7 and 8 (DuPage, Kane, Will, and Kankakee Counties) moved into phase 4, which allows for indoor dining and drinking for parties of up to 10—good news for restaurant owners, but another logistical challenge to face.

“As residents, we get excited that we can go to a restaurant,” says Reba Osborne, director of government affairs for Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, “but what the owners have had to navigate is unbelievable.”
Changes in mitigation tiers can be hard to predict—and even harder to react to. “When you get official word, there isn’t any time to prepare,” says Osborne. Planning for inventory and staffing is next to impossible. “Because this has never happened before, you have no matrix to compare it to,” she explains.

Osborn and her counterparts at other area chambers continue to lobby for less restrictive—and more stable—measures for the industry, which she considers safer for all. “There is very little data that restaurants are superspreaders,” she says. “My concern is that if the state again shuts down the restaurants, which are highly regulated as far as health standards, people will get together in private homes, which have no controls.”

Photo by Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune