CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois set a record for COVID-19 on Thursday, with more than 30,000 new cases across the state.
The figure represents the highest one-day total on record, and the Chicago outbreak is forcing some restaurants to close their doors again.
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As CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek reported Thursday night, some chefs have also said that this spike couldn’t have come at a worse time.
For many restaurants, New Years Eve is one of the biggest nights of the year – and that makes it all the more painful to have to make the decision to close their doors. But for the sake of public health, they do it anyway.
“One hundred thousand dollars in the last two weeks, I imagine, is what we’ve lost,” said John Manion, owner and executive chef of El Che Steakhouse and Bar, 845 W. Washington Blvd.
Manion said it was difficult to understand the amount of money lost in having to close El Che during one of the most profitable times of the year. But at least he can sleep at night.
“In my mind, I can’t put anyone in this situation,” Manion said.
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For Manion, the Omicron variant started its rapid spread in his steakhouse last week. The first blow was the reception staff. Then, as they prepared to reopen this week, it was the kitchen.
“It just happened,” Manion said. “I would say half of my kitchen has COVID. “
Manion joins several restaurant owners across town in making the difficult choice to close and stay closed throughout the New Year. After six employees contracted COVID, Richard Mott of North Pond in Lincoln Park called on Monday to cancel New Years Eve reservations.
It meant having to make tough calls.
“We had two marriage proposals scheduled for the night. We have been open for 23 years. We’ve had a New Year’s Day proposal every year we were open except one, ”Mott said. “It’s just a little sad to call someone and tell them that.”
It might be sad, but for Mott and Manion, giving up the benefits of a sold-out night seemed like the right choice for everyone.
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“I guess a lot of people are going to be staying home on New Years Day,” said Manion, who added that he hopes to be able to reopen El Che next week.