Local bars, restaurants struggling to stay afloat due to COVID

Many local bars and restaurants are truly struggling to stay afloat amid COVID-19, especially small businesses.

And with the bitter cold near, business owners can only do so much.

There is more than 6,000 square feet inside “Eleven Eleven” on Lake Street. It’s equipped with a bar, dining area and second floor event space. The owner says with limited capacity for so long, they are unable to pay rent.

“Please, we just need some answers, help us stay open,” said Ahmed Braimah.

The owner of Geja’s Café in Lincoln Park says they are losing about $40,000 every week under tightened restrictions. With indoor dining ending Thursday, they will now have to furlough some 30 employees.

“This is very disappointing to the staff. Having consistent money through the holidays, they just don’t know,” Jeff Lawley said.

Tightened restrictions come as the state infection and positivity rate soars for eight consecutive days.


At a press conference on Wednesday, Republican leader Jim Durkin said local restaurants have been treated unfairly and “turned into a scapegoat.”

“For the governor to continue to rule with unilateral authority with its executive orders until the pandemic ends is not right,” Durkin said.

Eleven Eleven’s owner says they have done everything from expanding their menu options to creating outdoor seating.

Still, something has to give.

“We’re talking constantly on what we can do and how we’re gonnna adjust, honestly, that’s all we can do is adjust to what’s going on,” Braimah said.