Meanwhile, staffing issues have delayed the reopening of several of the Fifty / 50 Restaurant Group ‘s 17 establishments, co-owner Scott Weiner said.
The restaurant group has asked its roughly 400 employees to get vaccinated, so Weiner has no plans to make any changes to the protocol as the number of cases grows. But he fears that the increase in the number of COVIDs could hurt business. The Roots Handmade Pizza in Lincoln Square is frequented by families with children under the age of 12, who are not eligible for vaccines. Will they be discouraged?
“It’s really neighborhood by neighborhood,” Weiner said.
Recovery also varied by location, and this is reflected in the data at Datassential. Restaurants in the city were hit harder by the closures than the suburbs, in part because people stayed home and ate nearby instead of coming to town. Chicago restaurants are also more dependent on tourism, convention traffic, and professionals who flock downtown for work, and all of that has been slower to recover, said Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association.
Toia lobbied for the Federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund to be replenished. Regardless of the full terraces and reservations reserved for restaurants this summer, many are still in need of financial assistance, he said.
He is also a strong advocate for vaccines and expects more restaurants to start checking customers’ vaccination cards. New York City announced Tuesday that it would require proof of vaccination for people participating in indoor activities such as meals, gyms and shows.
Some Chicago restaurateurs say they are adamantly opposed to closing indoor restaurants again and will do whatever it takes to avoid this fate. One of them said he did not have enough confidence in the legitimacy of the vaccination cards to check them at the door.
Chicago has no plans to impose vaccines or masks on patrons of bars or restaurants, Chicago Health Commissioner Dr Alison Arwady told a press conference on Tuesday. The city is also not likely to re-force masks indoors unless it enters high-risk territory in the event of a count.
“It is an important decision to impose this on a whole class of businesses,” she said. Additionally, she added, New York has adopted the concept of the vaccination passport to a greater extent than Illinois and the Midwest.
Most restaurateurs hope it doesn’t come to this, but feel they’ve become versatile and nimble to overcome the roller coaster of restrictions over the past 16 months. If they have done it before, they can do it again. But they would certainly prefer not.
“I hope I don’t go back to” an indoor eating ban, “said Aldo Zaninotto, owner of Osteria Langhe and Testaccio in Logan Square. “I don’t think it will come back to (that), but you never know at this point. The good thing is we did this exercise so we kind of know now. ”
Osteria Langhe and Testaccio will require customers to wear masks again from Wednesday. Zaninotto said he asked the staff if they would be comfortable staying open, and they decided to implement the mask’s mandate and see how things go. He hopes it will be enough.
“I think masks should do it for now and people feel safe,” he said. “I want to do my part… let’s not try to get back to where we were before. Prevent this.
Jon Asplund contributed.