COVID-19 takes toll on people and businesses

Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has infected over a million people, with more than 200,000 dead. While the human toll has been horrific, COVID-19 has also tanked the life of small businesses and restaurants across Chicagoland.

The potential impact of the state’s March 22 decision to close all non-essential businesses is incredible to consider. Although most restaurants have pivoted to take out or delivery service, many are barely breaking even. Some projections suggest that 50 percent of all restaurants scattered across Chicago could close permanently, as owners lack enough revenue even to pay for rent.

Daniel Allen, owner of The Willow Room restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, is just one example of a restaurant and small business owner trying to navigate these challenges.

“The restaurant is getting killed in revenue.  It’s a sit down place; nobody has been able to come in since  We have done take out and delivery, which thankfully kept us off the ground, but if the restaurants stay closed longer than expected, it will shut down.”

Allen also owns Punt and Plume, a wine shop in the DePaul neighborhood.  , we have been able to change what we sell now and it’s toilet paper, hand sanitizer and tissues.”

The longer the closures of non-essential business around Chicago continues, the bigger the toll it will take for all families struggling to pay for groceries, rent, tuition, etc.