His Honor, the Imperial Illinois Guv, J.B. Pritzker, majordomo to all 12.7 million Illinois serfs within his domain, is shutting down restaurants again.
With papal-like authority, Pritzker has ordered Chicago bars and restaurants in Chicago to halt indoor service and to limit gatherings 25 people effective today.
In this, Pritzker is ignoring pleas from the pitiful, whining restaurant owners who are laying off workers hand over fist, scrambling to find some extra cash to stay open or shutting down permanently. Tough. Too bad. Shoulda picked a better way to make a living. Go pound sand.
It would be an easy shot to say that Pritzker doesn't understand or care about the people struggling in Illinois, he having been born into a family fortune worth billions of dollars. He doesn't know how to struggle to meet a payroll, take out a second mortgage on the house, sweat out the utility bill or look for work. Maybe if he had to bus a few tables for a week he'd get a clue.
I'll take the easy shot because the Grand Poobah deserves it. He doesn't have a clue. What turns this comedy into a tragedy, I think, is that he truly believes that he is protecting and saving lives. Despite the evidence to the contrary.
By evidence, I'm not talking about one of those epidemiology studies, so many of them wrong, that are running our lives. Fed up, we are. I'm talking about people who know firsthand.
The Illinois Restaurant Association spotlighted Jodi Fyfe who had to shut down her West Loop restaurant, Eden because of the Pritzker restrictions. “We went from 536 employees to 24 and have never worked harder in our lives,” she said.
The free market Illinois Policy Institute gave voice to Kristan Vaughan, whose family had to close one and is trying to sell a second of their seven Irish pubs in the Chicago area.
"The evidence does not show we are the cause of the spread,” she said. Out of her 160 employees, she said two tested positive for COVID-19 and neither got it at the restaurant or was in a position to spread it.
I can only add my own experience, which might not count for much, but which is real. I live in Duval County (coterminous with the city of Jacksonville) where restaurants began opening months ago and now are at full indoor service.
Surely a recipe for disaster, Pritzker might say. So, here are the stats: Out of 34,963 confirmed cases in Duval County, 515 have died. That's 1.47 percent of the cases. Duval County/Jacksonville's estimated 2019 population is 911,507. meaning that here you have a 0.06 percent chance of dying from Covid-19.
Hospitals are not being flooded with serious or terminal cases and regular health care is being provided.
By the way, schools also are open here with in-classroom instruction and remote learning for parents who choose it for their children. Makes too much sense for Illinois.
Jacksonville and Duval County must be doing something right.
In Florida, restrictions have been lifted on all businesses, including restaurants and bars. Floridians will not be fined for not wearing face masks. Local governments can impose their own restrictions within limits. They cannot limit restaurant seating to less than 50 percent occupancy. Local officials will have to justify limiting occupancy to less than 100 percent capacity.
When Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted the restrictions, he said, "Every business has the right to operate."
Scandalous! Reckless! Crazy! Imagine in this day and age allowing a business to operate without the go-ahead from government. Let's shut them down by giving those businesses a taste of looting and rioting!
The Illinois Restaurant Association said at a press conference today that it would join with others in legal action challenging Pritzker's extreme restrictions. Good for them. It's not pitchforks and tar and feathers, but standing up to autocracy is one of the hallmarks of the American character. Forcing businesses to close and evicting people from their jobs should not be permitted by the likes of the clueless Pritzker.