Chicago restaurants fighting back against coronavirus restrictions

Restaurants in Chicago are fighting back against all the COVID restrictions. They say there is no proof the virus is spread at their businesses.

“We feel attacked and stripped and when no other industry in the world has had to face this onslaught,” said Rich Rofolo of Forno Rosso Pizzeria Napoletana.

Fulton Market restaurant owners say they have mandated masks, reduced capacity and some even have conducted temperature checks before providing service. They are now calling on Governor JB Pritzker to resume indoor dining at 25 percent capacity.

“Vast majority of restaurants in our city, they can’t put tents outside, don’t have the money, don’t have space,” said Roger Romanelli of the Fulton Market Association.

Following a Freedom of Information Act request, the Fulton Market Association learned 22 of Chicago’s 7,300 restaurants were closed for failing to comply with mandated COVID safety rules. Chicago’s Department of Public Health also told them out of nearly 75,000 restaurant and bar employees, just under 300 workers tested positive for the coronavirus.

The group says these stats prove there is no significant link between restaurants and the virus. However, a recent Northwestern and Stanford University study found 10 percent of public places account for 80 percent of infections.

“We found that restaurants, gyms are the riskiest categories in terms of spread,” said Beth Redbird of Northwestern University.

She also said if occupancy is capped at 20 percent, the spread of COVID could be reduced by 80 percent.