Restaurants Pushback Against New Shutdown Orders
Restaurant owners and industry groups across the United States are pushing back as city and state officials impose new restrictions on restaurants and bars. Filed lawsuits are piling up against the bans and targeted policies as rallies in support of dining rooms grow momentum.
In early November, Illinois was the first to reinstate the ban on indoor dining. Michigan, Washington, Minnesota, Kentucky and most California regions have since followed. New Mexico and Oregon have put an end to table service entirely, while New York City officials have also warned about indoor dining suspensions.
Mike Coughlin, owner of Village Tavern and Grill in Illinois, is openly breaking a state order. Like other restaurant owners, he abided by local rules early in the pandemic and invested in a bigger outdoor patio space. He also spent thousands of dollars on plexi-glass dividers and a $10,000 air-purification system.
When the state of Illinois suspended indoor dining when Covid-19 cases surged, Coughlin opted to keep his dining room open, despite the risk of fines.
“You pay my bills, you pay my taxes, you pay my employees, and I’ll close,” he said, addressing Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “I’m not going to be the guy with a boarded-up building because I follow someone else’s science.”
As restaurant owners and protestors continue to express their frustrations and concerns, businesses will embrace the support to stay open.
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