Customers enjoy outdoor dining at the Lucky Penny Diner and Deli in Chicago. But al fresco dining is becoming less viable as the weather turns colder.

Chicago-Area Restaurants Challenge Governor’s Indoor Dining Ban

Some restaurateurs have filed lawsuits to halt enforcement of the order, which they say could force them to shut their doors permanently.

Some restaurant operators are challenging—and even openly defying—a dine-in shutdown order in the Chicago area and around the state, asserting that it could force them to close their doors permanently.

As the Chicago Tribune reports, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker last week issued a ban on indoor dining in the city of Chicago as well as Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will and Kankakee counties. The order is meant to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, which is surging in Illinois and nationwide.

But some restaurateurs have decided to keep offering dine-in, especially as colder weather makes outdoor dining less viable. “If we closed for this order, we’d be closed for good,” Cassi Melvin, an assistant manager at The Lucky Penny Diner and Deli in Naperville, Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune. “We’re a small family business. It’s just us looking out for us.”

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Pritzker has said studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and multiple medical journals point to restaurants as “amplification points” for the spread of COVID-19. He said indoor dining can resume if COVID-19 positivity rates drop below 6.5%. He urged customers to order delivery and carryout to help keep restaurants afloat.

Some restaurateurs have filed lawsuits asking the courts to overturn Pritzker’s ban. According to Eater.com, a judge in McHenry County last week denied a temporary restraining order—filed jointly by 37 area bars and restaurants—to halt enforcement of the shutdown order. A judge in DuPage County rejected a similar request from Brauer House, a restaurant/bar and entertainment venue in Lombard, Illinois.

A judge in Kane County, however, approved a request to allow indoor service to continue. The state has already filed an appeal.

As of Friday, infection numbers and positivity rates had climbed in Illinois, with 6,980 new confirmed cases and 35 additional deaths as of Sunday, November 1, Eater.com reports.