Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, many small businesses in Illinois are in jeopardy of shuttering their doors forever.
Plenty of them are still recuperating from the first wave of government-mandated lockdowns back in the spring, so it makes sense that some business owners have decided to disobey the statewide ban on indoor dining declared Nov. 2 by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
"Along LaGrange Road you will find plenty of places to eat and a few businesses clearly advertising that they too are allowing people to dine in for the third time this year," WBBM-TV reported Nov. 13.
“It’s the worst year ever for me,” Damian Piekarczyk, owner of Tradycja Polish Fusion Cuisine in Orchard Park, told WBBM. “If you don’t I want to come to the restaurant and sit and eat and just let go. If you don’t feel safe then stay home. Let people choose."
Betty Styrczula, who works at the restaurant, expressed similar sentiments.
“We really want to survive it, and we we close down again we won’t survive it,” Styrczula said.
According to the Illinois Restaurant Association, coronavirus restrictions imposed on restaurants could mean 120,000 people lose their jobs and don't get them back.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, small businesses that keep their doors open to customers despite the indoor dining ban risk being fined $10,000.
The repercussions of the local- and state-mandated lockdowns adversely affect the lifeline of small businesses, including bars, gyms, restaurants, tourist attractions, bookstores, hair salons and small retail stores.
As COVID-19 cases escalate throughout the United States, many struggling small businesses cannot withstand a second wave of lockdowns.
The question remains if closing down small businesses is worth the risk for business owners and their employees.
As long as small businesses comply with health and safety regulations by sanitizing areas numerous times a day, adhering to social distancing guidelines and generally taking a common sense approach to health, they should keep their doors open.
Public health officials need to encourage personal responsibility for one’s health over unnecessary lockdowns.
During his recent speech to The Federalist Society, Supreme Court Justice Alito discussed the constitutional crisis brought on by restrictive coronavirus policies.
“The pandemic has obviously taken a heavy human toll: thousands dead, many more hospitalized, millions unemployed, the dreams of many small business owners dashed. But what has it meant for the rule of law?” the Supreme Court justice said.
"The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty," he asked. “I’m a judge, not a policymaker. All that I’m saying is this, and I think it is an indisputable statement of fact: We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020."
“Think of all the live events that would otherwise be protected by the right to freedom of speech: live speeches, conferences, lectures, meetings. Think of worship services, churches closed on Easter Sunday, synagogues closed for Passover [or] on Yom Kippur,” Alito added.
It’s up to Americans to stand up for their individual civil liberties and to protect small businesses from closing down for good.
As the holiday season draws closer, it is very important to support small and local businesses during these unprecedented times.
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