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‘It Was A Matter Of Survival’: Suburban Restaurants Flout COVID-19 Restrictions, Continue To Serve Customers

CHICAGO (CBS) — Friday was the first day of no indoor dining in the Chicago suburbs as COVID-19 restrictions are rolled back out, and some businesses are defying the governor’s orders.

Spiro Roumpas, owner of Ki’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant in Glendale Heights in DuPage County, says it is all about survival. At Ki’s the reservations were books, the waits were long, and the parking lot was jammed Friday night.

“This is definitely not a normal night. This is big, big, big,” Roumpas said. “We really had no decision to make. It was a matter of survival.”

This week Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker rolled back indoor dining for DuPage, Will, Kankakee and Kane counties as positivity rates continue to surge.

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“We’re not trying to buck the system or go against the governor or anything like that,” Roumpas said. “We want to survive just like everyone else.”

At Aliano’s in East Dundee in Kane County, owner Lisa Seng is complying with the order to stop indoor dining, which could bring an end to business.

“We are going to try and keep our doors open, but there’s no guarantees right now if we are going to stay open,” she said.

And Chicago bars like Butch McGuire’s are now forced to adapt to the City of Chicago’s new COVID rollback. The beer must stop flowing at 9, and everyone must be out by 10.

“It’s not a great place to be, but our doors are still open, so I’m grateful,” said McGuire. “There’s been a lot of unknown, and they keep coming.”

Back at Ki’s Roumpas said he knows his decision to keep serving could lead to discipline from the state.

“I am worried about, very worried about,” he said. “This at least makes me feel good, that if nothing else other people support us and maybe we made the right decision.”

There are a handful of businesses that made the same decision to stay open. The governor says state police will be enforcing the closures.

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