Business owners react to possibility of another stay at home order

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ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Illinois set a single-day record for newly reported COVID-19 cases in a day. Now, if the number of COVID-19 cases does not change soon, the state could be on the brink of another stay at home order as businesses brace for an already tough holiday season.

Governor Pritzker said this is the last thing he wants to do, but it could happen in the next couple days. Local businesses were able to get by last time, but some said if it happens again, they might not be so lucky.

The governor made it clear. “If things don’t take a turn in the coming days, then we will quickly reach a point where some form of a stay at home order will be all that’s left.”

Illinois set a new single-day record on Friday, reporting over 15,000 new COVID-19 cases. Hospitalizations in some regions are tripling peaks set back in the spring.

Jessica Kocurek, owner of Willow & Birch Salon, understands the gravity of those numbers. But that does not make her feel any better about the possibility of another shutdown.

They were counting on the next few months to help dig themselves out of the hole from the first shutdown. “For us, we are looking at what is typically our busiest time of the year,” sad Kocurek. “The holidays are usually a big time to get your hair done, or buy gifts for your loved ones. So it is definitely defeating to figure out that we could be going down that path.”

Scott Weitekamp, owner of Crow’s Mill Pub, protested the governor’s restaurant and bar shutdown, while also trying to crowdfund to pay his employees’ salaries. He stood at the side of the road with a sign, asking for donations.

He believes another stay at home order would lead to many more businesses having to close for good. “I know numbers are up. But I know also that it is the people’s choice to go to these places,” said Weitekamp. “If you have any underlying ailments or underlying illnesses, then don’t go. But why are you closing up businesses? And businesses are going to close up forever.”

The governor has not said for sure whether the state will go into another mandatory stay at home order. And he did not clarify if the stay at home order would look the same as the one from the spring.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is asking for people to stay home whenever possible. They are asking people to stay away from private social gatherings and to rethink traditional Thanksgiving plans.

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