Dear Honorable Governor J.B. Pritzker:
It is with grave concern that I submit the following petition to you on behalf of community leaders and small business owners in the restaurant and beverage industry within my district.
As you are keenly aware, this group has been the hardest hit industry since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early March 2020. Most of these small business owners have exhausted their life savings, retirement benefits and other means of financial support at the expense of their own families and livelihoods.
I write to you today to respectfully implore you to immediately re-evaluate the current restrictions in place. Many of these businesses are located in communities of no more than 5,000 people; and in many cases even less. For some of these communities there are only a handful of bars and restaurants to serve the entire surrounding area.
These small business owners have inventory that is perishable and yet they are currently expected to depend on curbside and delivery options to move their product prior to it becoming a total financial loss. It is gut-wrenching as I listen to story after story of the heartbreak and fear these small business owners face daily.
It has gotten to a point of no return, unless they are allowed to reopen their doors safely with modified appropriate guidelines. Make no mistake, these small business owners want to protect the public while having an opportunity to save their businesses. But they have little or almost no time left to do this.
These individuals are smart, resilient and used to problem-solving their own business challenges. Small business profit margins are very different than “Big Box” stores, making it even harder for these entrepreneurs to be successful. Under the current restrictions it is becoming impossible to recover for many.
With a very small window of time left for these small businesses to remain viable, this petition is our last hope for an opportunity to salvage what is left of this industry.
I implore you to act immediately on behalf of the undersigned businesses and community leaders to avoid even greater catastrophic economic collapse for these small businesses and their communities.