Governor Pritzker, allow restaurants and bars to reopen in Phase Three

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The Honorable Governor J.B. Pritzker
JRTC, 100 West Randolph
Suite 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601

Dear Governor Pritzker,

Please allow Illinois restaurants and bars to re-open for dine-in service in Phase 3 of Restore Illinois. In Phase 3 as written, barbershops and salons are allowed to reopen. Health and fitness clubs can provide outdoor classes and one-on-one personal training. Retail stores are allowed to reopen.

Getting a haircut involves close physical contact no matter what. Working out at a gym involves significant customer contact with shared surfaces. Retail stores bring similar numbers of people together each day as restaurants and bars, and like grocery stores in Phase 2, will operate with capacity restrictions and increased sanitation procedures.

When restaurants and bars re-open for dine-in service, they will also operate with reduced capacity. Restaurant managers throughout the state are hard at work developing new floor plans for dining rooms, bars and lounges, reset for social distancing. Staff, trained in sanitation procedures via the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe program and guided by CDC and FDA recommendations, will be working diligently to clean and sanitize high customer touch and work station surfaces.

Grocery stores are essential and have been allowed to remain open in all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, as they should be. Will visiting a restaurant or bar operating to even higher standards be more dangerous than visiting our local grocery stores - along with every single one of our neighbors?

Illinois restaurants and bars are essential businesses in a crisis. In the original French, Restaurant means To Restore. In Chicago and in communities large and small across the state, restaurants and bars are bedrocks of their neighborhoods. Restaurant and bar owners invest in the communities in which they operate. Those of us who work in restaurants care greatly about the mental - and physical - health and safety of our guests. Now more than ever, our guests need us, and we need them. Cities, towns and villages cherish their local restaurants and bars. We've been patient, but ask us to lie in waiting very much longer, and our scene ... from everyone's favorite neighborhood pub to those restaurants that make us proud on the national and global stage ... will not survive. Please help us.

Sincerely,

Your hopeful citizens of Illinois who work in, operate, own and support our restaurants and bars.