CHICAGO - In March, Illinois saw restaurants and bars close their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, more than 50 restaurants in the Chicago-area have closed their doors for good.
The Chicago Tribune reported the figure as part of a snapshot of the city’s restaurant scene six months into the pandemic.
Many restaurants and bars had to turn to takeout or delivery in order to survive after their businesses were ordered to close down sit-down dining.
Although Chicago restaurants were able to reopen for outdoor dining at the end of May, for some, the damage had already been done.
In Chicago, limited indoor dining wasn't allowed until late June, and it came with restrictions.
A recent COVID-19 study by the Centers for Disease Control suggested that dinig out at a restaurant or drinking at a bar could heighten the risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus.
"Those who tested positive were more than two times as likely to have eaten on site at a restaurant in the preceding two weeks," said Dr. Jennifer Wilson, a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine at Stanford University who was part of the research team.
Overall, Illinois has reported 268,207 confirmed cases, including 2,056 new cases reported Thursday. The state’s Department of Public Health said 8,392 people in Illinois have died since the beginning of the pandemic, including 25 reported Thursday.
Restaurant owners have said they’re particularly concerned about the winter months if things don’t change and restrictions on indoor dining remain in place.
Chicago officials launched a competition last month for creative outdoor dining ideas for the winter months and have received over 600 submissions so far. They include tents, heated tables and domes. The winners get a $5,000 cash prize and the chance to try out the idea at restaurants and bars in Chicago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.