All Restaurants and Bars CLOSED

No more dining out or drinking out in Illinois.  A prudent move by Governor J.B. Pritzker.  He made the call Sunday afternoon, after Chicago took some heat for St. Patrick’s Day bar crawls in Wrigleyville.  There was plenty of bingeing going on the day the river is typically dyed green. River North, Wicker Park, Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville bars had partons lined up as early as 8am.  Now it was far, far tamer than in non-coronavirus years.  Anecdotally, it wasn’t as bad as the Wrigleyville hashtags made it seem.  But it wasn’t great optics for the city.  It’s tough, because 21 year olds aren’t always capable of seeing the big picture and tend to feel invincible.  Plus, local government left a little too much wiggle room heading into Saturday.  250 people, with a strong focus on supporting small businesses, particularly the service industry.  Mayor Lightfoot had a press conference with Grubhub and restaurant leaders on Friday.  The Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Allison Arwady (a sturdy and knowledgable public figure) made it clear that it was alright to go out to restaurants and bars.  Pritzker made less than 1,000 people a rule and less than 250 a strong suggestion.  For a youthful Wrigleyville resident, that’s as good as permission to go out for St. Paddy’s Saturday.  If you’re of that mindset, you can convince yourself that you’re not breaking any guidelines – i.e.: “The bars must be open for a reason/The bars are in charge of limiting numbers/I’m only going to smaller bars/I’m only hanging out with my group of friends, etc.”  Not saying any of that is correct, but one could rationalize in such a way.  Not to be overlooked, also, is the mixed messages coming from the highest office in the land.  President Trump called the virus a hoax weeks ago and doesn’t seem to grasp any of the facts pertaining to COVID-19.  He compared it to the flu, which is when some segments of the population stopped paying attention. Putting Ja Rule in charge would yield better results. Thank God for Dr. Fauci, the expert on the White House team.  I don’t want to absolve the Wrigleyville partiers completely.  Many I’m sure knew they were risking community health or had a false sense that they aren’t at all in danger of getting ill – but again, youth can be selfish and make mistakes.  Leadership must lead.  Pritzker stepped up later Saturday, tweeting angrily about a jammed up airport situation at O’Hare.  The new international travel rules left thousands of people wedged together, waiting for customs.  Vice President Mike Pence called an apologized for the federal government mistake on Sunday.  Pritzker called out the young ChiRish on Sunday as he also announced the closing of all bars and restaurants.  Although, restaurants can still deliver and provide curbside pickup.  I stayed in and ordered Grubhub the majority of the weekend – and plan to do so again tonight.  We need restaurants.  And bars.  They are part of the fabric of this city.  But we’ve got to be safe first.  We’re all gonna make some mistakes through this, but we can plough through it together as one city and one country.  I appreciated the candor Governor Pritzker displayed on Sunday.  He talked about how no decisions are easy decisions or without consequences these days.  The important thing is that we have leaders capable of making the correct decisions, popular or not.  Also, it helps to have a sense of humanity and the humility to own missteps.  Election day is tomorrow for the primaries.  I plan on venturing out to vote.  It may be my last human contact for awhile.

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