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With City Waiting Longer Than State To Reopen, Restaurateurs Look To Mayor Lightfoot For Guidance

CHICAGO (CBS) — While the statewide positivity rate for coronavirus tests stood at 12 percent as of the latest report Monday, the figure was 18.1 percent for the city of Chicago.

For that reason, Chicago is keeping with the stay-at-home order until at least the beginning of June, even as other parts of the state get the green light for some degree of reopening as soon as later this week.

As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported Monday, salon and restaurant owners in the city continue to wait for reopening timelines and instructions from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and City Hall.

“I had people making reservations already,” said Agostino, a Northwest Side restaurateur.

He is laughing now, but the confusion between the time that Gov. JB Pritzker green-lit patio dining in Illinois and Mayor Lightfoot nixed it in Chicago was real.

“I’ve had a lot of customers say, ‘Do you wish you were across the street to open up?’” Agostino said.

Ristorante Agostino Gustafino, which is entering year 35, is located at 2817 N. Harlem Ave. At that latitude, Harlem Avenue is as far west as you can get in the city of Chicago. The other side of the street is Elmwood Park.

In that near west suburb, Agostino’s competitors can serve outside starting Friday. But Agostino’s own patio start date remains unclear.

“You can’t just open one part and not the other part,” Agostino said. “We are in the same boat over here.”

But the boats are not the same. Statewide rules this Friday even allow food business to occur in indoor space where 50 percent or more of a wall can be removed via the opening of windows and doors.

All dining must be limited to a six-person group maximum.

The state rules apply not just to restaurants, but to outdoor spaces connected to golf clubs, hotels, and grocers.

Those rules apply to everyone in Illinois, except businesses that chose Chicago.

“I wish I knew 30 years ago,” Agostino said.

Still, Agostino is rearranging the furniture and preparing for the future – however murky that is.

This discrepancy does not just apply to restaurants. Chicago’s Phase 3 and the relaxing of the Phase 3 rules also to applies to barbershops and salons, hotels, gyms, and office spaces.

As to the fine print from Mayor Lightfoot for some clarity on the new rules for Phase 3, the mayor said it should be coming this week. But exactly when is not known.

Source: CBS Chicago

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