On Jan. 14, the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) and restaurant operators around the state issued a press release asking Gov. JB Pritzker to immediately allow for safe and limited indoor dining operations.
The IRA's Open Indoor Dining. Save Illinois Restaurants! campaign unites operators and restaurant employees in voicing their concerns directly with state leaders, including unprecedented rates of job loss, storefront closures and rapidly increasing debt. Restaurateurs, whose businesses have been shut down for indoor service for more than two months, are urging Pritzker to allow for some indoor dining with extensive safety measures in place during ongoing mitigations.
"Eating and drinking places in Illinois lost 31,000 jobs in November alone," said IRA President and CEO Sam Toia. "This is the highest rate of hospitality job loss in the entire country, and three times as many as the next closest state. We are also one of only three states with a complete statewide shutdown of indoor dining. Restaurants are out of time, and they need a more reasonableand immediatepath forward to save the industry. This is the reckoning."
According to the release, Illinois has been shut down for indoor dining for more than 75 days since Oct. 30, 2020longer than any other state.