With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, new restrictions were placed by Governor J.B. Pritzker banning indoor dining for restaurants in Will and DuPage counties. The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey among restaurants in these locations, check in on their current financial situation. About half of those surveyed say it’s possible for their doors to close permanently within the next few months, if the ban stays in place.
“A couple are saying that they have less than one month reserve to weather the recent mitigations another 30 percent are looking at reserves of five or less months,” said Reba Osborne Director of Government Affairs at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Restaurants Try to Recover
The response to the Chamber’s survey was smaller than average, likely because it was conducted quickly get a fast view of the state of local businesses and where help is needed.
Not all restaurants are able to have outdoor seating for their customers, and those that can may lose the option as the weather gets colder, or if COVID cases go up, leaving potential customers choosing to stay in rather than go out.
Though curbside pickup meals and gift cards are still helpful in providing revenue, for many businesses it’s not sustainable in the long term.
“They’re not designed to be curbside pickup, so you typically have one phone line,” said Reba Osborne Director of Government Affairs at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Businesses and City Funds
The decline in diners also leads to financial loss for other businesses. Restaurants help drive foot traffic to retail stores downtown, and of course the restaurant revenue also affects city funds.
“For example the SECA funds that are used for festivals and events are collected from the food and beverage tax so if that’s reduced that will impact that next year. So it’s not only today that we’re worried about but the resounding effects down the road.”
Many local eateries depend on indoor dining to stay afloat, and with nearly half of those surveyed facing the fear of closure in the coming months, it’s important to provide support however possible. To that end, Dine Naperville is encouraging residents to Mask Up and Carry Out through an ongoing campaign.
Naperville News 17’s Ryan Skryd reports.
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