Chicago Restaurant Owner Worried About Aid Timing In COVID-19 Shutdown

Restaurants will be closed to the public at least until March 30, but one restaurant owner still doesn't know when he and his employees will get help.

Chicago Restaurant Owner Worried About Aid Timing In COVID-19 Shutdown
Newsy / Madeline Carl

"It’s scary just having to do it for two weeks." 

The dining room in Craig Richardson's Batter & Berries won't look anything like this when they open their doors Tuesday morning. 

On Sunday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered bars and restaurants across the state to close up for dine-in customers — an order that'll affect more than 25,000 establishments and nearly 600,000 restaurant and food service jobs. 

"We are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services across the state to see if restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open so restaurants can continue food delivery to people at their homes." 

While Pritzker said he's working to provide aid to small businesses and their employees during this shutdown, Richardson says he doesn't know what sort of help he'll receive or when. 

"It's still kind of really ambiguous at this point. So we really don't know what's coming in terms of aid and support. And so that's, you know, that doesn't help anyone's anxieties because the plan is still pretty sketchy."

In the meantime, Richardson plans to keep the restaurant open and serve customers either through delivery or curbside pickup. 

"We're already in partnership with Grubhub and Uber Eats. And so we'll continue, you know, to do supply channels. ... For most of us, this is just uncharted territory. But we're going to try to, you know, make it work."