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CDC Report, Federal Relief Update, Expanded Occupancy Ordinance

Friday, September 11, 2020  
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The Illinois Restaurant Association continues to engage with local, state, and federal officials to help our employers and employees address concerns about COVID-19.

Please see the below resources and information for your business - updated as of 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 11.



CDC Report on Restaurants and COVID-19


Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study on the linkage between COVID-19 and restaurants.

Now, more than ever, it is essential that the public is able to make decisions about activities outside of their home based on complete and accurate information about the spread of COVID-19.

We still do not find evidence of a systemic spread of the coronavirus coming from restaurants who are effectively following the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Reopening Guidance, encouraging guests to wear masks, social distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene. In effect, the lack of a direct correlation should be evidence that, when restaurants demonstrate effective mitigation efforts, the risk is low when dining outside or inside.

The methodology used in the recent CDC article focused on the transmission of COVID-19 and restaurant visits contains numerous flaws, and the conclusions of the study are insufficient to guide consumer behavior. Across myriad industries including gyms, restaurants, and retail, the conclusions reached by the researchers are not supported. Furthermore, the results calling out restaurants specifically are not supported by the data nor the methodology. 

It is irresponsible to pin the spread of COVID-19 on a single industry. Restaurants are heavily-regulated and frequently-inspected, and are strictly following local, state, and federal public health rules to maintain a safe and welcoming environment in their businesses.

The IRA continues to urge restaurants to follow all necessary public health guidance and safety measures to keep their guests and team members safe. Click here to download and post the Illinois Restaurant Promise at your establishments.

Click here to read more from the National Restaurant Association.



Federal Update - Senate Fails to Pass COVID-19 Relief Bill 



As anticipated, earlier this week, 52 Senate Republicans voted in support of proceeding to the recently-introduced COVID relief legislation, and all Senate Democrats opposed. Having failed to reach the 60 vote threshold, the bill is effectively dead.

Despite that development, Republicans and Democrats in Congress continue to have negotiations on what a new COVID-19 funding package could look like. What does it mean for you? 

The National Restaurant Association’s Sean Kennedy breaks it all down in today’s update.



Take One Minute to Record a Video and Tell Your Story


The IRA is working with the National Restaurant Association to collect personal stories from our members about the impact of COVID-19 on your business.

Throughout this crisis, restaurants continue to face unprecedented challenges. As a result, many restaurants have had to close their doors for good while others are fighting to stay afloat. More must be done for lawmakers to visualize the struggles restaurants face on a daily and long-term basis.

Click here for directions on how to record and submit your story. Tell Congress that restaurants need relief now – and every day they wait more restaurants will close.



Expanded Occupancy, Longer Hours of Operation Ordinance Introduced


Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) has introduced an ordinance that would allow any business properly licensed to sell liquor for on-site consumption in the City to sell liquor for on-site consumption indoors until 1:00 a.m. and operate at 50% of the total maximum indoor capacity.

Under the ordinance, such businesses would need to close by 1:30 a.m., and close their outdoor patios by 11:00 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends.

The IRA fully supports this ordinance, and we continue to work with the Mayor's office and City Council members to allow for expanded indoor operations and longer operating hours for restaurants and bars.

Click here to read the ordinance.



Governor Pritzker and DCEO Announce New $16.6 Million Investment to Connect Illinoisans to 1,300 Positions Related to COVID-19 Response


This week, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced a new $16.6 million investment to expand job opportunities for Illinoisans who have become unemployed as a result of or during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through two new grants received from the U.S. Department of Labor, the State of Illinois will distribute funding to place, train and hire nearly 1,300 residents for an array of jobs connected to the statewide COVID-19 response. New workforce training will support out-of-work Illinoisans with access to positions in healthcare, food delivery, contact tracing and other key industries that play a role in the statewide emergency response to COVID-19.

Funds will be deployed to 12 Local Workforce Innovation Areas across Illinois (LWIAs). State of Illinois LWIAs represent employers, local government, community colleges, and community-based organizations which partner with DCEO to provide year-round training and support to communities across the state.  

Learn more about job training and hiring opportunities at Get Hired Illinois.

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