Citing an increase in positive coronavirus cases, Mayor Lightfoot recently decided to eliminate indoor service at bars and taprooms operating without a food license.
While we appreciate Mayor Lightfoot’s data-driven leadership during the pandemic, North Branch Works sees this decision as a one-size-fits-all policy approach that unfairly groups all bars and taprooms in the same category.
Instead, we urge Mayor Lightfoot to make compliance with COVID-19 regulations the deciding factor in whether or not bars and taprooms can offer indoor service.
Because of our strong relationships with bars and taprooms in our service area, we know they are highly committed to the health, safety, and welfare of their employees and patrons. And just as important, they have the capacity to carry out these services in a safe and responsible manner.
Chicago remains a vibrant city in large part because of our diverse range of small businesses like neighborhood taverns and bars. Not only do these establishments strengthen communities through jobs and economic development, they also make important cultural contributions.
There’s no question that positive cases are increasing in certain zip codes. But it’s difficult to understand the rationale for closing all bars and taprooms across the city during a time when there’s overwhelming demand for jobs and economic development.
And we see establishments without food licenses as opportunities to encourage creative entrepreneurship with food-based businesses. For example, many small family-owned businesses like Calihan Catering are facing unprecedented challenges, so we could advance polices that foster partnerships between businesses with mutual needs.
And that’s exactly the type of partnership that we’re working hard to build along the North Branch by advancing policies that make it a premier area to do business and work, connecting members with each other, and sustaining new businesses.
North Branch Works stands ready to support Mayor Lightfoot and Members of City Council as we work toward a safe and healthy economic recovery.