Restaurant coalition to Lightfoot: Reopen indoor dining

Mayor uncertain whether request will be fulfilled

Roger Romanelli and Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Fulton Market Association, Getty, iStock)
Fulton Market Association Executive Director Roger Romanelli and Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Fulton Market Association, Getty, iStock)

After more than a month without indoor dining, Chicago restaurants have had enough.

The Chicago Restaurants Coalition and several restaurant operators today called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to allow indoor dining at 20 percent capacity by Jan 15, Crain’s reported.

The coalition also asked for regulations to differentiate between bars and restaurants, for electricity bill due dates to be pushed back from Jan. 1 to April 30, for more contact tracing and for an update on the city’s hospitality grant program.

To pressure Lightfoot, the coalition, which advocates on behalf of 7,300 restaurants, is gathering signatures on a petition with its requests.

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Asked if it will be possible to open indoor dining after the holidays, Lightfoot said, “I think that’s hard to say in the next month.”

Across the country, other state and local leaders are also being pushed to continue or resume indoor dining.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to shut down indoor dining as soon as this weekend if the region’s rising hospitalization rate has not stabilized.

The move comes after four elected officials in New York City called on Cuomo to impose stricter Covid restrictions on the entire city, rather than in zones where there are increasing cases.

Los Angeles faces stricter rules, as even outdoor dining has been banned in the county.

[Crain’s] — Sasha Jones