According to the Illinois Restaurant Association, nearly 5,200 restaurants will go out of business in the coming months because of COVID-19.

To help put that into perspective, in March there were 25,851 restaurants operating in the state. And, as long as we're talking numbers, about 600,000 people work in Illinois’ restaurant industry and about half have been laid off.

Here's one more sobering look at numbers from the Illinois Restaurant Association:

In spite of all the take out and delivery services they now offer, restaurant sales are down 80%, and thousands of restaurants are in jeopardy of never opening again.

Restaurants find the prospect of resuming dine in service especially frustrating. Stay-at-home orders are expected to ease on May 29, with much of the state moving from stage two to stage three of Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to reopen the state. That allows salons and health clubs to reopen with restrictions, but not restaurants for dine in. Owners argue theirs is a business accustomed to strict health protocols, and with social distancing and scaled back capacity they should be allowed to reopen at stage three.


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