Joliet Chamber Sends Letter to Gov. About New Mitigation Efforts

The Joliet Chamber of Commerce along with leaders of other local towns including Plainfield, Naperville, Bolingbrook and Frankfort have sent a letter to Governor Pritzker urging him to reverse new mitigation efforts and allow dining indoors. The letter states that in Region 4, patrons are allowed to dine indoors despite their positivity rate at 10%. But in Region 7 where the current positivity rate is 8.3% much harsher restrictions apply. The chamber is asking for immediate consideration to reverse the decision and allow establishments to remain open for indoor seating.

A portion of the letter below.

Letter to Governor Regarding Region 7 Mitigations

Dear Governor Pritzker:

As a Chamber of Commerce, we routinely advocate on behalf of our members in several areas of interest. Today, on behalf of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry and our neighboring chambers we stand together and write to you to share our very serious concerns with the recent decision to implement what we believe are unfair restrictions targeted at the restaurant and bar industry.

One of the greatest and most displeasing issues is the fact that our Region 7 has not been afforded the same opportunity as the businesses in Region 4 to reduce the number of inside patrons at bars and restaurants before moving onto harsher restrictions such as what are in place beginning today. These businesses are part of an industry that has been one of, if not the most, severely affected during this pandemic and to place these additional measures on them will be catastrophic to their survival. We ask for immediate consideration to reverse your decision and allow these establishments to remain open for indoor seating at a capacity of the lesser of 25 individuals or 25% of capacity. These businesses deserve the same opportunities as the Metro East region and now face issues of scrambling to use up inventory and secure outdoor seating equipment and supplies.

Yes, they will adapt and do what is necessary to keep their doors open. Why though, does one industry need to bear the brunt of the responsibility to reduce positivity rates throughout the region. They have had to pivot and re-create once and are a determined group, but this decision is just going to pull more resources from them. It is our hope that they will all survive these latest restrictions, but nothing is guaranteed.

It is unfortunate that recent spikes have driven our region over the 8% threshold. However, we fully support actions to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus through proper mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, and additional methods of sanitization. We also believe that the great majority of our business members are following these guidelines. At the beginning of this pandemic, it was our understanding that we all needed to accept the responsibility of lessening the burden on the healthcare system and decrease the death rate. With that said, we believe that our medical providers have more than adequate resources and availability to serve those in need. In addition, we do not see an increase in the death rate in this region and in fact it seems to be steadily decreasing.

Finally, in light of this detrimental decision, we ask that the State and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity immediately set up a system to automatically approve all of those affected by this mandate to receive funds in the next round of the Business Interruption Grants. It is the least that our government can do for those that continually face an uphill climb to run their business. We would be more than happy to hold further discussion on this proposal to see that this industry can be accommodated.