Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Chef Rick Bayless calls on Gov. Pritzker to help restaurant industry


By April Bamburg | Mar 26, 2020

Rick Bayless |

Chef Rick Bayless wrote an open letter via Twitter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker expressing concerns about the effect of Illinois business shutdowns on the Chicago restaurant industry and around the state.

In a series of tweets, Bayless asked Pritzker to announce his plans to help the restaurant industry.

“We are a group of independent restaurant owners and chefs who make Chicago one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Over the last two days, we have collectively served thousands of guests who have come out to support our businesses," Bayless tweeted. "While we are thankful, and while their support has been in good faith, we have also put ourselves, our employees, and the families of our employees at tremendous personal risk.”

“Few workers in Illinois are more vulnerable than these employees. And few businesses are more vulnerable than ours. Can you imagine Chicago, the proud host of the James Beard Awards without these restaurants? Let me be frank – we will not survive this closure without immediate, decisive action from the government," Bayless said. "We thank you for your leadership today. We believe in prioritizing the safety of our employees and our guests. But we must call upon you today to announce immediately what you plan to do for our workers and for our small businesses.”

Bayless enumerated a few recommendations from the restaurant industry: calling for rent and loan abatement for workers impacted by the closure of the restaurant industry; immediate payroll tax elimination; and immediate support emergency unemployment benefits for all hourly and salaried workers furloughed during this crisis.

“Governor, we are counting on you to help the restaurant workers of Illinois. We elected you. You are acting bravely. Show us what those people with both power and means intend to do for people who have none.”

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Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker

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