Today the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce sent the letter seen below to Governor Pritzker in support of restaurants and bars and all small businesses. The Chamber would like for Gov. Pritzker to reverse his decision on the new mitigations place on Region 4 yesterday with his new resurgence plan.
Honorable J.B. Pritzker
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Dear Governor Pritzker:
On behalf of the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, we stand with our businesses and write to you to share our displeasures with the recent mitigations targeted at our local restaurants, bars and entertainment venues and find them to be extremely hurtful and unfair.
They have taken on the brunt of the closures since restrictions were placed on them in March. What evidence does the State have that shows most of the outbreaks are tied to restaurants and bars that have been complying with the State orders. It is not fair to make them shoulder the responsibility of this pandemic when National Box Stores are able to stay open with only limited restriction or none at all.
Yes, they adapted and will continue to do what is necessary to keep their doors open, but what will happen in the next 6 weeks when the cold sets in and diners no longer want to sit outdoors. Most are not able to make it on carry out alone. The majority of our restaurants and bars are down revenue over 50% from 2019 and there is not an end in sight to stop the bleeding. They have exhausted all financial resources and there is no more government funding available to them, unless the State and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity specifically earmark the remaining Business Interruption Grant money to help support these businesses. Many of our entertainment venues are still closed and they cannot continue to remain closed. Another shutdown will likely lead to permanent closure of these restaurants and bars, while many entertainment venues will not be able to re-open at all.
We feel this will be the same if even more mitigations are imposed on our small businesses that are deemed nonessential. We see all businesses as ESSENTIAL. They provide employment to our residents. They support local charities, they provide sales tax to our local government, they are the American dream that the State is taking away. Again, there is no evidence that these small businesses should shoulder the brunt of these mitigations. Most of these businesses are well under the stated capacity of gathering limits that are currently allowed by the State.
With the new standards set by IDPH, Region 4 will likely have to weather these mitigations for an extended period of time in which we will see more and more businesses close their doors for good which will leave a big hole in our economy with many open storefronts and empty buildings. We live in a Metropolitan area and by restricting Region 4 you are sending our citizens across the border to Missouri, further putting our positivity rate at risk and damaging our local economy.
We respectfully ask that you reconsider these mitigations and re-open indoor dining and allow our businesses to continue operations.
It is time to RE-OPEN our REGION and our STATE before there is nothing to re-open.
Wendy J Pfeil
Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce