Chicago restaurant owners worry mask mandate could turn off customers

Chicago restaurant owners worry mask mandate could turn off customers

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Chicago restaurant industry said the new mask mandate that went into effect Friday is going to present challenges.

“I don't expect that this will be an indefinite forever mask requirement,” Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwaday said, but, she continued, the city's daily COVID-19 case numbers need to be cut roughly in half. Chicago had 400 COVID-19 cases this week.

"The mask mandate is going to influence some people away from us, if you will," Steve Hartenstein of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants told CBS 2."Certainly better than the alternative of vaccine cards and all that but it puts us in a position to police again."

Hartenstein said with all the other struggles including staffing if capacity limits were to be imposed again, that would be the kiss of death.

On Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 24,682 new confirmed and probable cases of  COVID-19 in the state, including 126 additional deaths since Aug. 13.