Pritzker says feds should help bars, restaurants

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By Kevin Bessler | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Bars and restaurants throughout Illinois continue to struggle amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the state-imposed restrictions put in place to reduce the spread of the virus.

The onset of colder weather is also looming, making it difficult for most businesses to serve patrons outdoors.

During a virtual void-19 briefing on Wednesday as he continues to be in isolation, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that bars and restaurants are a hotbed for the coronavirus.

“They are the ones that have been most impacted because the medical advice has been that we have to limit the capacity there more than in other places in order to limit the spread of the virus,” Pritzker said.

In an update last month, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 9 percent of outbreaks were attributed to bars and restaurants.

As Pritzker touted passing the 6 million mark for statewide COVID-19 tests, the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise. Region 4, which is the Metro East area, and Region 1, which includes Rockford and Dixon, are still under additional restrictions because of high positivity rates. Only outdoor dining and curbside pickup are allowed at bars and restaurants in those regions.

Pritzker says Region 9, north of Chicago, and Region 5, in southern Illinois, are both seeing increased positivity rates. The governor said only one region has turned things around.

“Region 3, home to Springfield and Quincy, is the sole region to flip from an increasing positivity rate to a relatively stable rate in the same time period,” said Pritzker.

On Wednesday, IDPH announced 2,630 new coronavirus cases with 42 additional deaths. Statewide, IDPH has reported a total of 307,641 cases of COVID-19, including 8,878 deaths since the pandemic began.

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