George's defies gov's order, serves dine-in customers

Health dept. visit does not end dine-in service Wednesday

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

Oak Park's village government worked Wednesday to enforce Gov. J.B. Pritzker's order closing all dine in restaurant service in suburban Cook County as COVID-19 cases rise in the state.

George's Restaurant, 145 S. Oak Park Ave., opened for both dine-in and take out service Wednesday, said Johnny Konstantos, an owner of the longtime diner. For a short time the restaurant had a Facebook post on its page explaining that it considered its customers to be family and saying those who were comfortable eating indoors were welcome.

Konstantos believes that in the short while that post was up that a customer called the Oak Park health department to report the restaurant. He said the health department sent a police sergeant and an officer to warn them the restaurant was in violation of the governor's order and that dine-in service had to end.

Mike Charley, director of public health for the village government, said in an email to the Journal, "the village received two emails from two different complaintants this morning communicating that George's … was open for indoor dining.' Charley said police visited the restaurant, issued a "verbal warning and education." He said George's management "agreed to voluntarily suspend indoor dining."

However, at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday there were four tables occupied inside the restaurant by the observation of a Journal reporter.

Charley said in a later email that he knew of no other Oak Park restaurants that were violating the governor's order.

Konstantos said he got a similar message as from the police when he called Tammie Grossman, the village's business development chief. Grossman, said Konstantos, said she was sorry but that these were the rules and that he should finish serving diners currently in the restaurant and then end dine-in service.

Konstantos said he expected the health department or police to return. He said the police had told him earlier that he would receive a "cease and desist" letter if he continued serving diners indoors. Konstantos said he has a lawyer on call.

A week ago, the Journal reported on expensive added protective measures George's had just taken including installing glass partitions between every booth.

"We have been following all the rules to keep people from getting sick.," he said. "These new rules seem arbitrary," he said, while for instance, casinos can remain open.

Saki Konstantos, Johnny's brother, said, "I know this is all very political but it's really just about our survival. There are a dozen people whose lives are tied in with George's"

Johnny Konstantos said George's will continue to provide takeout and delivery service regardless of the outcome on dine-in service.


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Reader Comments

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Jim Coughlin  

Posted: November 1st, 2020 10:03 PM

Pete's Fresh Market does need to get pro-active about the face mask requirement. I observed a situation similar to what Christine Pastor shared. My concerns were directed to store personnel and with the corporate offices. Despite some assurances that the matter would be addressed; I'm still not willing to accept the risk. Hiring a security guard might help as would having staff on the floor remind shoppers to wear masks properly. Buying groceries should not be a super spreader event.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: November 1st, 2020 7:10 PM

@ Chris. You keep speaking of "pivoting" to adapt to the pandemic. How much of a pivot did a Dominoe's have to make? Delivery has been their business model since day 1? How much pivoting did Etsy and other online only business have to do? Neither had to make drastic changes to their business model to adapt to a pandemic. George's on the other hand isn't exactly the 1st restaurant that comes to mind when you think of take out or delivery, now does it? Personally, I haven't been to George's in the past 10 years or so and have absolutely no idea what they are doing to adapt. I do know this though, if I had to choose between owning Etsy, Dominoes or Georges during a pandemic, Georges would be at the bottom of my list. I'm subtracting credit from them because the changes they needed to make to their business model if any were minimal at best. Stop acting like companies like Etsy created some new earth shattering business model to cope. Sorry Chris, but the great thing about math is it is fairly black and white. When US Foods reports a negative earnings report, it means exactly that, they lost money that quarter. I have no idea how else you would interpret that. Sorry Chris, I'm just not as impressed as you are with online only businesses that have done well during the pandemic.

Chris Weiler  

Posted: November 1st, 2020 1:34 PM

@Ramona. I am unclear what motivates you to subtract credit from businesses that have figured out how to do well during this crisis, or see them as positive examples that businesses not doing well could learn from. My perspective is "glass half full" as a solution seeking effort for struggling businesses like George's. As I stated in my previous post, it is up to each business to get creative and leverage its unique characteristics and strengths to make it work. Isn't that at the heart of being an entrepreneur/small business owner? Solve the problem, creatively leveraging the unique resources each business has available. My point stands in that we are seeing a correlation between restaurants and businesses in general that are pivoting and succeeding. By contrast, some businesses, including restaurants that are solely investing in PPE upgrades with no or very little attempt to pivot, are not succeeding. A few successful examples include... Alma Cocina Latina, Olmsted (Olmsted Trading Post), Ristorante i Ricchi. BTW... George's could absolutely offer delivery, it doesn't need to be "established." Another opportunity to pivot. And again, I renew the most relevant question to this discussion, which you still have not addressed from my previous posts... what has Geroge's done to pivot? Have they contacted US Foods? It's the reason and context I brought them up in the first place. Much like restaurants, fitness clubs were hit very hard. Many have pivoted by building out online offerings. A brand new practice area for most of these clubs, especially for the local, single club operations. Stock price is irrelevant to the original post/conversation because prices are a result of many factors that must be interpreted in context. US Foods 2020 eps loss over 2019 does not mean they are losing. I simply included them as another example of a brick/mortar business that has creatively pivoted/adapted in a relevant way to support themselves and the restaurant industry they serve.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 1:19 PM

William, all I am really saying is I tried to do my best to ensure the health of fellow citizens based only on information I know of from the CDC. I went up the chain of command and it is broken. We pay people to ensure that our health is best protected and I expect that people perform at a high level. I know you are a Navy Veteran, and I know from a friend who is Ex Navy, that he was taught how clean everything had to be. It makes sense now since if you infect an entire Ship, then it is useless for battle. I consider this that serious, and it may be a bit to serious for people to understand the way I expect people to do their best. Just to do their job and that performance has not surfaced and we are now where we are at. I told a National store what was wrong, and they said they were going to fix it. It took a second call and then every one entering the store all had masks on. That second phone call may have helped to reduce the spread. I say may, because I do not know this as a fact although I said wear masks at least 2 weeks before the CDC because it is basic common sense on knocking down the distance a sneeze or cough can travel. Just to add in one other point. Before the virus was know, I was in an Oak Park restaurant and a person sneezed right into the container of butter used to butter toast. It was not thrown out. I never returned to that restaurant

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 1:01 PM

Well, OK then.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 12:53 PM

William, yes I know. I mentioned it below in one of my posts although he was being paid when I called and this was when the restaurants were first opened so there is no excuse in his ability to not return a phone call and consider he was overwhelmed with work. This is a pandemic, this is where you put your Troops in to take it on. If he was told to step down from moving forward in enforcing the violations than that is a matter even the new director will have to take on. When restaurants opened, they did everything to put on masks, place out hand sanitizers, whatever it took. Then it may have become to expensive for the hand sanitizers and the cooks would wear a mask with their nose exposing. I had one manager I asked for my money back and had to ask don't you want to know the reason, and I told her turn around. That manager was not wearing a mask the third try I gave that restaurant. Before the pandemic, if you are mopping floors, you need to wash your hands before you get back to preparing food for people. Some restaurants do not do that. I had a teacher he said you should never say you do not feel well and it must have been something you ate at the restaurant. He offered no excuses and there is no excuse that the Health Department could not do drop ins or return a phone call. Also, there is no excuse to drop the guard just because some one is leaving. You already have to have a person in place. This has been very sloppy work on the Health Departments end, for whatever the reason and maybe it is against Charley's integrity if he is being told to step down on enforcing the guidelines or maybe he is just up to getting out from behind the desk. I can stop in 4 restaurants in 1 hour including travel time and notice a violation or not. That is 32 restaurants a day. There is not way this could have been just overlooked

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 12:31 PM

Bill- you are aware that Mike Charley is leaving, right? Starts in Skokie Nov. 16. Don't think right now is a good time for the Health Dept to visit every OP restaurant.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 12:27 PM

Before I take out any food from any restaurant I want to be assured that a health inspector did a stop in to make sure everyone was following CDC rules. If I could notice what was in violation when restaurants were open and I walked out, then how can I be assured that employees are following CDC guidelines. This is why we are in this mess because the inspectors would not go out and do drop ins and the restaurants, not all, but some were not in compliance. Hare to believe. I went to one restaurant 3 different times and mentioned about masks and finally gave up on the place. If I can not get the health department to do a follow up after calling the health department then I have little belief the health department who has the authority to enter a business and inspect it is actually going to do their job when restaurants are closed to the public

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 12:15 PM

All I would add to Nick's post is, it would help if the village and the OP Chamber of Commerce helped consumers with this process, identify restaurants, publicize promotions, etc. If I was assured a given restaurant would survive this, I'd even be willing to buy gift cards. Whatever helps them get through this.

Nick A Binotti  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 11:56 AM

Focus on what's in your control: 1) Get take-out from your local restaurants. 2) Pick up your food yourself. 3) Avoid delivery apps that take a significant portion of restaurant revenue. 4) Tip as-if you're dining in. 5) Tip as-if you ordered your typical dining out meal (drinks/dessert). 6) Tip well period.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 11:47 AM

In my opinion, I think you always clean up your own backyard before trying to clean up the World. I have noticed problems of not wearing masks, and no hand sanitizers at businesses and called the health department because it is their paid job to do stop ins to make sure every business is following guidelines. Instead, lets just use data, and place the blame on the leader of the country who does not represent a good example by not wearing a mask. It takes the attention away from your own backyard. Maybe the new health department director will be more proactive with the Village

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 10:50 AM

Robert Zeh: all good points. It would be very helpful to have more than one CDC study that as the Doc pointed out is "low on the hierarchy of evidence." And it would behoove the state to follow best practices here. That said, the absence of leadership and support from the federal level is distressing and profoundly consequential.

Robert Zeh  

Posted: October 31st, 2020 8:48 AM

It isn't that I think the state government is picking winners and losers. I think they're not handling the pandemic very well. Here are my reasons: every now and then Pritzker says something about the epidemic that shows he doesn't have a good grasp of statistics, and that plays out into poor policy decisions. Pritzker doesn't do a good job presenting the data he uses to make his decisions, and he relied on private, non-reviewed models at the start of the epidemic (although he was smart enough to engage two groups, I will give him that). Pritzker hasn't managed to produce an exposure tracing app that uses the Apple & Google framework. Other states have. With regards to restaurants, the outbreak reporting from DuPage County, and the inadvertently leaked Illinois outbreak data, both show that there are very few outbreaks at restaurants. I do not know how to reconcile that with the CDC report, and would be happy to hear any ideas.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 7:57 PM

The stupidity on this thread is staggering. @Pastor - No, all business shouldn't have to close. That sounds like Putin level right wing bs inflammatory propaganda. The difference between a grocery store and restaurant (I cannot believe I have to explain this): in restaurants people are sitting down and eating with their masks off and most likely for more than fifteen minutes. Customers can control when they go to the grocery store and how long they stay. They are not sitting in one place with their masks off. Solution: don't go to Peets when it's a zoo. The behavior of George's management is irresponsible. But no worries. I;m sure you can find restaurants that are defying the order and lounge around to your heart's content. The problem - it's one thing to not care if you get infected, but the people you subsequently have contact with will not have a choice and may not know your'e infected. That's passive / aggressive murder.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 6:06 PM

Unbelievable. It's like Conservatives all work off the same cheat sheet. The state government is NOT "picking winners and losers." It's trying to protect people from high risk environments (places where people have to remove their masks to eat and drink and sit still in small areas for extended periods of time) as opposed to lower-risk environments (much largersupermarkets and big box retail spaces where people keep their masks on, move around and can physically distance from others). This isn't rocket science. I can only assume the ignorance is willful.

Mary Darnall from Oak Park  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 5:48 PM

What has been lost in these discussions about restaurants is the efforts some have made to protect their customers. From the WJ: "A week ago, the Journal reported on expensive added protective measures George's had just taken including installing glass partitions between every booth." I understand Cucina Paradiso has added an air filtration system. I am sure other businesses have also been preparing for indoor dining. What may be needed is some exemptions to the mandate. Could the Health Department evaluate the substantial changes made to a restaurant like George's and determine if the risk of Covid transmission in this particular restaurant has been majorly (a word?) diminished? Perhaps this would allow businesses to make the changes to their environments and stay open with an "approved" designation by the state? Just trying to think out of the box. BTW, I appreciate all that the Governor is doing to try and help Illinoisans in this pandemic. These are not easy calls. Stay safe, all! Wash hands. Wear masks. Be kind!

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 4:16 PM

@ Chris. Let's look at some context. Which restaurants have done well? Dominoes: Did they have to change their business model? Yes, barely. McDonalds: They have a drive thru, so their changes weren't very drastic. Does George's have an established delivery service? No, they don't. Can they add a drive thru. No, they can't. So some businesses, like Etsy, had to make tweaks to their normal operations to adapt to a pandemic situation. George's and many others are not in that position. The EPS are not misleading at all. You brag about their low price of $8 in the Spring. Name me one company that wasn't at their year low in Spring. The entire market had crashed Chris. So that comeback is not unique to U.S. Foods. Why do you find the stock price irrelevant? It's very relevant. It correlates with performance of a company. If you haven't noticed, the physical businesses that have done well are the ones the government hasn't shut down. Wal-Mart, Costco, Target, grocery stores, etc. You don't think that plays a factor Chris? The government is now picking winners and losers.

Chris Weiler  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 3:27 PM

@Ramona. You're interpretation of "results" lacks context. Whether a business has a physical or strictly online presence is only marginally relevant. Per my point tied to George's, every business has a set of unique considerations and factors to weigh during Covid driven disruptions. As such, each business has unique choices and opportunities enabling them to pivot, adjust, adapt, evolve... or not. Restaurants are no exception, with some doing very well having pivoted to new profit centers. US Foods stock price is not a relevant metric in this discussion, but since you opened the door... they came from a low of around $8 in the spring to their current level that flexes between $20-25. Earnings #'s alone are misleading. In addition to the Covid effect, 2020 earnings reflect a good deal of new spending including acquisitions and new practice areas, which is why their stock went up despite a "loss" over 2019 earnings p/share. As they serve the restaurant/food industry, this speaks to how well they have done helping restaurants and food service business pivot this year as I detailed in my previous post. Which brings me back to the original issue... what has George's done to pivot, adapt, evolve? Have they reached out to a company like US Foods that quickly pivoted by creating a new practice area specifically to help restaurants create new revenue streams? The inescapable fact is that this year there are examples of both physical and online businesses that have adapted and are doing surprisingly well, while there are also many that are not. So I agree, these results do say a lot.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 3:07 PM

I just received an email from the Journal stating "Now is the time to order in!" It lists 14 restaurants in and around Oak Park, with contact info and how to order take out and curb-side pick up, etc. At the end it notes "Each of these restaurants paid a very nominal fee to participate in this email." That's a great idea, and one the villages of OP and River Forest (and Forest Park) should support. Maybe pay that nominal fee for the newspaper ad, and/or a dedicated place on the village website with all that information. Until the inept and uncaring administration in Washington is replaced, the necessary financial help will not be forthcoming. So hopefully we can find ways to encourage and enable citizens to get revenues to these businesses and help them keep their heads above water financially.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 2:49 PM

And yet, Doc, the top infectious disease expert in the US is saying we need to shut down restaurants and bars and other indoor gathering places because of the high risk amidst spiking Covid cases. As do 12 to 15 other veteran epidemiologists I've read or heard on TV. What are you waiting for- another 230,000 deaths?

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 2:19 PM

@ Nick Polido. The study William references is a case control trial ?" designs which are relatively low on the "hierarchy of evidence" scale. Furthermore, the study in question involved a cohort of a mere 314 patients from 11 health care enters. Somehow I would consider this a stretch to say it represents the US population of those afflicted (or not) with Covid. And of course there is the glaring potential confounder: where those in the Covid positive group where in fact aware of their positivity ? a potential significant bias. The point is reports of this nature (case controls studies) ?" especially those with such small sample sizes ?" are at best hypothesis generating. They should not IMO be used to set policy. After all, if we relied on case-control studies we would all be convinced that Hydroxychlorquine is the "magic" bullet for Covid since there were several case controlled studies supported the efficacy of hydroxychlorquine. IMO one does not close down entire industries based on a cohort of 314 patients in a low level hierarchal research design. So I agree with you Nick.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 2:10 PM

Christine Pastor nothing in life is fair so you try and reach some type of balance. If Pete's was packed with customers then take a picture and email and call the Oak Park Health Department. The reason why businesses that are being closed down again is simply you can not eat wearing a mask unlike the other stores. Some stores have become more lax and the Health department needs to get out from behind a desk and hit the streets to make sure every store is complying and that is the way you make it a little more fair. If the stores are still packed or not following guidelines then the new restrictions are not going to help much. It is up to the public to make sure the Health department is doing what they are suppose to be doing. If you are outside of Oak Park, then you call Cook Country Health Department. They will answer the phone or will call you back very shortly and they will take a complaint and follow up on it. Push to push this virus back until we have a vaccine that can prevent people from becoming vary sick and like or not, it is up to the citizens and a very motivated Health department. The Police have responded to all calls of individuals not wearing masks so they are certainly doing their part. We have to find the weak links that need to be removed and improved

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 2:09 PM

People have to be able to buy food. Which is why grocery stores are considered essential businesses under the Illinois mandate. Eating out is not essential. I for one am very concerned about the impact on of this on restaurants and bars- which is why I believe additional stimulus from the federal government is critical to provide relief for both workers and small businesses. But Republicans refuse to provide that help.

Christine Pastor  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 1:14 PM

@Jeffrey Smith. You have the right to stay home. Please do. If one business brick&mortar has to close, all brick&mortar businesses should have to close, including medical, stores, etc. It's the fair and square way. Here is a Heads Up to you; JS, Pete's store was a zoo on Wednesday, Oct.28 2:30pm; only the cashiers were safe. AND there is still no Pritzker mandate for grocery order-ahead and pick-up for all.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 9:58 AM

@ Chris. Perhaps Etsy changed their strategy to acquire more customers, but with an online only business model, they didn't really lose anything during the pandemic did they? They didn't have any bricks and mortar locations they had to shutter. You really shouldn't tout US Foods as a success Chris. A year ago their stock prices was $40 a share. Today its $20. Their last quarterly earnings report they lost 25 cents per share vs. making 64 cents per share the same quarter last year. Thank you for demonstrating my point that an online only business has a major leg up in this pandemic environment Chris. Lastly, ETSY stock price has gone from about $43 to $121 in the same period. So no Chris, what I stated is true. You can wordsmith and spin however you like, but the results speak for themselves.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: October 30th, 2020 5:54 AM

Pile in, Republicans! And then leave town so you don't infect anyone else in Oak Park.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 3:18 PM

Again, Nick, from the CDC's Sept. 11, 2020 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: "Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately TWICE AS LIKELY to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results." . . Findings from a case-control investigation of symptomatic outpatients from 11 U.S. health care facilities found that close contact with persons with known COVID-19 or going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options were associated with COVID-19 positivity."

Nick Polido  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 2:35 PM

Where is the data that dine in restaurants have higher transmission rates then other businesses????? This is a reasonable question the Governor needs to answer. Closings businesses and then vilifying them is so, so easy.

Chris Weiler  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 2:21 PM

@Ramona... Not true. People did not start going to Etsy in droves because they were sitting home with nothing better to do. It took action on Etsy's part. Etsy took many quick, aggressive steps to get their attention, adapt their current infrastructure to bring in new customers, reactivate former ones, invest in advertising and improve predictive/matching search algorithms. This enabled them to get the attention of new target markets and introduce them world of customized/personalized products many people never considered before. Instead of buying that corner table or cabinet from your go to retailer, you now discover someone can customize it to your exact style/dimensions on Etsy. Same dynamic has happened with IL based US Foods, one of the nation's largest food service distributors, that partners with around 300k restaurants and operators. They have been investing/innovating heavily this year to help restaurants adapt and evolve. With US Foods newly developed support platform, some restaurants are evolving into a hybrid form, adding a retail grocery component for both pickup and delivery. Some restaurants are doing very well by leveraging or creating new profit centers. Some are not. What has George's done along these lines? Like I said previously, isn't this the natural life cycle of business and life?

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 1:23 PM

Ok, Joyce. Since your initial post was "Just stunned at some of these comments. The death of common sense has never been more apparent than here in Oak Park," I'd have to agree. I don't know how you could think I'd pick up you were referring to me there. But whatever.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 1:19 PM

I know that, Dale. I read the statute. The problem, however, is that the crisis hasn't passed. Cases are spiking in nearly every state in the country. The emergency isn't over. Question; it doesn't strike you as utterly reckless that elected officials from your party have gone to court to derail the governor's powers during a lethal pandemic?

Joyce Siragusa  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 1:13 PM

It's always that last word that seems to trigger you. And by the way the initial post was directed at you, just didn't think I needed to be that obvious.

Dale Jones from River Forest  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 1:02 PM

Mr. Dwyer: the Illinois Emergency Management Act does give the governor the power to issue "all lawful necessary orders, rules and regulations" to protect lives and property and protect the public's "peace, health, and safety." However, that power is limited to 30 days, after which the constitutional (Illinois) law making process takes over.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:58 PM

Thanks for sharing, Joyce. But you might want to consider not suggesting that you speak for "everyone" in the same post where you accuse someone else of self-aggrandizement. Just a thought. Hope I don't sound to haughty. Here's another thought- perhaps you need to stop focusing on the supposed attitude of posters here and focus on what they say and not how they say it.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:57 PM

I speak 3 languages Mr. Dwyer. I didn't need to google it. As I recall you have criticized me in the past for "googling" for information. And here I thought you were just innately more intelligent than the rest of us commoners. @ Joyce. It's a comment board. That's it. Relevant or not. Probably not relevant to you because you don't own a business being impacted by Covid while the gov't sits in their ivory tower expecting businesses to pay every tax, fee, etc. that comes along while being demanded to shut down.

Joyce Siragusa  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:48 PM

Mr. Dwyer - And once again you fall for the fact it's your attitude that loses everyone, The disrespectful, self aggrandizing needs to be toned down for you to appear to be relevant to these conversations. Sad.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:42 PM

We're speaking English here, Ms. Lopez- so let this sink in: According to numerous on line sites, (the same places I'm certain you Googled) the ENGLISH meaning of "ment" refers to "the means or result of an action." And ment itself comes also from the old French "mentum," which refers to "an instrument or medium." So "government" is simply a medium or instrument for "governing, i.e., direct, rule, guide, govern." People are sickening and dying, and your response is to castigate our government. Pretty sad of you.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:32 PM

The word government has a deeper meaning. Govern is a Greek word meaning to control, steer or pilot. Ment is Latin for mind. In Spanish we say "mente". Let that sink in for a minute.

Joyce Siragusa  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:29 PM

It's your attitude that loses everyone, The self aggrandizing needs to be toned down for you to appear to be relevant to these conversations.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:26 PM

@ Chris. Yes, ETSY is thriving. So is CHWY, TUP, etc., but they didn't adapt to pandemic conditions. They just happened to have a business model that works when people have to stay home. Restaurants happen to have a business model that doesn't work well during a pandemic. Are they just supposed to sit there and die on the vine after being in business for decades paying property tax, sales tax, FICA tax, state income tax, federal income tax, license fees, workers comp insurance, liability insurance, property insurance, passing health inspections, etc. Is the state offering any relief for them while they demand they shut down? Have they been relieved of any of their tax burden? If an individual is high risk, then just don't go. Individuals can make up their own minds and live with the consequences. Where it becomes a mess is when one goes to the restaurant and then goes to visit high risk grandma and passes it on to her.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:22 PM

I just quoted what I see as his authority, Dale. If you don't like it, then show everyone how you're right and I'm wrong. I suggest you try to be more articulate and substantive than the current President.

Dale Jones from River Forest  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:13 PM

William Dwyer, I asked for a specific statute and you provide a definition of govern from Merriam-Webster. This is not a legal document or statute and good luck citing it in court as justification, even in front of an Illinois judge. As far as the "unitary executive" crack goes, conservatives don't subscribe to the doctrine of the all powerful executive, just the opposite. We believe in Constitutional' separation of power and checking the executive branch's exercising of legislative power through the administrative state.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:06 PM

From the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act: . . Because of the possibility of the occurrence of disasters of unprecedented size and destructiveness ? and in order to insure that this State will be prepared to and will adequately deal with any disasters, preserve the lives and property of the people of this State and protect the public peace, health, and safety in the event of a disaster, it is found and declared to be necessary: . . (2) TO CONFER UPON THE GOVERNOR and upon the principal executive officer of the political subdivisions of the State the powers provided herein. . . "Public health emergency" means an occurrence or imminent threat of an illness or health condition that: . .(ii) THE APPEARANCE OF A NOVEL or previously controlled or eradicated infectious agent or biological toxin; .. .

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 12:02 PM

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act (20 ILCS 3305/; Ch. 127, para 1057, Sec.7. Emergency Powers of the Governor? allows the state's governor to - (8) To control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area, the movement of persons within the area, and the OCCUPANCY OF PREMISES THEREIN." . . AND .. . (9) To suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages ...

Chris Weiler  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 11:16 AM

OBSERVATION 1... Rewind a few months when the youth protesters vandalized our Mayor's home. No question... their actions were unlawful - they broke the rules. If asked, I'm sure they have reasons they feel strongly about to justify their actions, just as businesses that choose not to follow the rules have their reasons they feel strongly about. Although tempting to think otherwise, these events are equivalent at the root. Are rules simply guidelines we can choose to ignore when they conflict with one's self-interest? What message is communicated to the community when this happens? Hey kids... do as I say, not as I do. The cause/effect result is always division, on many levels. The only fair and socially balanced way we maintain order is through respect for the rules. Whether we comply or not, we model those decisions and behaviors for our youth. As the saying goes... "Children learn what they live." For every law, ordinance, mandate, policy and social norm, there are people who feel justified in disregarding them to serve their personal ends. What message is sent if tomorrow, following George's lead, every restaurant does the same thing? With that door open, what's next? In our community of over 50k, I bet I could find 200 people, half or more with weapons and anarchist tendencies, who are itching to disregard many rules. This disobedient group that feels very justified in their ends, would outnumber OP police 2:1. Emboldened by the group of restaurants who disregard the rules, members of this 200 go to stores in groups of 10-20 and begin flexing their liberties by refusing to wear masks. Now what? What message does that send to the community? Many small, seemingly insignificant actions many people can't be inconvenienced to consider the weight of, lead to larger, more significant actions and negative consequences. This is how democracies and social contracts unravel. Hitler gave us a master class in this dynamic. So is Trump.

Chris Weiler  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 11:15 AM

OBSERVATION 2... From the article, Saki Konstantos stated, "I know this is all very political but it's really just about our survival." EXACTLY! This is the same sentiment shared by those who feel they and their loved ones are at greater risk by restaurants disregarding dine-in rules. What an interesting predicament our society is faced with. The tug of war between whose life is more valuable... the life of the business or the life of the faceless person who may be adversely affected by these decisions. If we decide we've had enough, the life of the business outweighs the life of the person, and open everything back up to pre-Covid days, we invoke Survival of the Fittest, accepting loss of many lives as part of that decision. But here's the thing... the standard must be applied equally. The door swings both ways. You see, prioritizing the lives of the people over the business also invokes Survival of the Fittest. It is then just as acceptable for a business to die from Covid-19 as it is for a person. Is this not the natural order... Life/Death? Although sad some businesses will not survive because they cannot or will not adapt to these circumstances, some will and new businesses will be born. I sat in on ETSY's earnings call yesterday. They are thriving and revenue is skyrocketing. All due to Covid. This pandemic has provided them opportunities to greatly expand their business, enabling many more people around the world to earn $$ selling through their platform. This expansion and revenue uptick necessitates they immediately begin hiring many more people.

Chris Weiler  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 10:45 AM

Dales Jones... Although legal action was taken against Michigan's governor Whitmer, their Court of Claims ruled she has the authority to keep the state under a state of emergency without legislative approval. State and local governments have "police power" to support the health/safety of its people. It provides for broad authority, reserved to the states by the 10th Amendment and where I imagine Pritzker's authority is rooted. From the 1905 Supreme Court case that required mandatory smallpox vaccinations... "upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members."

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 10:39 AM

Take it up with Merriam-Webster, Dale. To govern is to " exercise continuous sovereign authority over; especially : to control and direct the making and administration of policy in." I find it absurd that so many conservatives who apparently believe in the unquestioned authority of the "unitary executive" at the federal level are so allergic to the authority of our state's governor amidst a deadly pandemic of historic scope and scale.

Jahred Adelman  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 10:24 AM

As I posted below the other recent article about this, restaurants and bars are dangerous. If you have low community spread (like 2 months ago), less dangerous. If you have high community spread (like now), more dangerous. But they are clearly correlated to outbreaks, because you can't eat or drink without taking your mask off. My heart goes out to restaurants that are struggling right now, but by breaking the rules, George's is prolonging the pain for other restaurants that follow the rules. That is not fair and not right. And it's dangerous to their cooks and servers, too. Eating at indoor restaurants and going to bars is dangerous right now. Full stop. See this CDC study:

Dale Jones from River Forest  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 9:36 AM

William Dwyer you used the phrase "pick and choose what Illinois laws you'll deign to obey" The Governor does not make laws, the Legislature does. Please provide the statute that gives Governor JBP the authority to open and close businesses at will based on only his notion of what will prevent additional Covid deaths. The governor of Michigan found out she did not have this authority. Unless there is a law passed by the legislature that I am not aware of, neither does JBP.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 8:38 AM

We have been carrying out from George's (and many other restaurants) throughout the pandemic. I have passed on dining in since I am sixty and am a new grandparent. However it seems that much of the recent spread is due to returns to college and schools and the corresponding increase in testing that is going on. Is there any real proof that restaurants with a handful of indoor customers are any more dangerous today than in July? Many of these restaurants were already struggling just operating in Oak Park. I can't imagine how they are surviving.

Joyce Siragusa  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 8:21 AM

Just stunned at some of these comments. The death of common sense has never been more apparent than here in Oak Park.

Kathy Corcos  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 8:08 AM

A Forest Park breakfast / lunch restaurant is doing the same -- staying open. It is Charlie's, on Roosevelt Rd.

Nick Polido  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 7:52 AM

The Governor does not make laws arbitrarily that have to be obeyed. It would have been helpful if this Governor provided data showing the recent surge has restaurants as a contributing factor, he has not.

Jolyn Crawford  

Posted: October 29th, 2020 6:46 AM

We can also starve to death if we don't eat and if the grocery stores all closed, like the restaurants, we all would die!

Leonard Grossman  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 11:44 PM

Dammit! We are in the midst of a resurgence of the virus. We may not agree with all of the rules bur if we are ever going to end this nightmare, after ending the other one next Tuesday, we are going to have to err on the side of caution. Stay safe. Stay sane.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 9:49 PM

Jim Bowman we have or eventually will have to take a stance on something. George's is a very popular place to eat and they know how to treat customers. The food has always been good and the servers are very nice. They are having a rough time trying to keep in business like other businesses. I am sure the health department does not want to close any business. This pandemic has disappointed most everyone around the World. Make the trip in even if it is just for take out. The food is worth it and your support will be appreciated

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 9:37 PM

Well, so much for you complaining about "buffet Catholics," Jim. Apparently it's not OK to pick and choose what church laws you'll obey, but just fine to pick and choose what Illinois laws you'll deign to obey. Let's see how that works out going forward.

Jim Bowman  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 9:13 PM

If I didn't LIVE a half city away . . . Sorry.

Jim Bowman  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 9:11 PM

Owners' self-defense sounds quite reasonable, contrasts nicely with the official one-size-fits-all mandate, If I didn't a half city away, I'd make a point to return to George's to eat and congratulate the owners.

Ed Muccianti  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 9:06 PM

Does this writer know that the Cajun boil and bar on south Blvd is also open and the bar looked packed when I drove by. nobody was social distancing.

Ed Muccianti  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 9:03 PM

I love George's. Great food and people. I'll be going there tomorrow

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 8:25 PM

It is obvious from the pros and cons that there is not a general agreement that we either have a pandemic or know how to reduce it. I will consider this increase by what I have noticed. Restaurants that I have been to after opening mostly were filled with hand sanitizers and most cooks were wearing masks although some were not fully covered. I was at a medical place and they were taken temperatures at the door before you could get in. There is a grocery store that had one way aisles. Everything was going well in for the most part. Then things became laxed. No more one way aisles. Hand sanitizers where not available and for the medical place, no more at the door temperature taking. I even asked at the counter did you want to take my temperature the next time I went back, and the person pulled out the temperature checker and checked my wrist instead of previously checking my forehead. I know of another restaurant that does not even wear masks. So all I can put together without being a scientist or doctor, is what changed and that was everyone became laxed where I went. Now cases are back up and I can only assume that when businesses let done their standards, the cases went up. As for casino's and other places that are open, you can keep a mask on when you are doing business. Another business that has been hit with lower sales is dry cleaners and gas stations. So there are more than just restaurants. I do understand about spreading something and would recommend that when opening a door or using a gas pump it may be a good idea to santize your hands until medical science can determine if the virus can be spread by touching handles to open doors. I am still on projection that we should have just about 12 months left. That is not a life sentence although letting the virus get out of more control has proven it can be a death sentence. Just my observation and I even have been lax so it happens. Once we have access to weekend cures then places may open sooner

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 8:03 PM

Kudos to George's.

Deborah Wess  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 7:27 PM

William Dwyer Jr., this is perhaps the first time I've ever agreed with you.

Mindy Credi  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 6:52 PM

I've never eaten a George's but I'm heading there now to pick up dinner. There is no law being violated. A mere mandate that frankly is absurd. You can go a play slots at restaurants, but you can't get a a BBQ sandwich or burger. Come on man.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 6:41 PM

I've eaten in Georges at least 150 times. probably more. Really like the place. But if they keep being so stupid and reckless, I'll never go back there again. Obey the law.

Gary Sullivan  

Posted: October 28th, 2020 6:26 PM

Kudos to George's and I wish him/them the very best. Maybe Oak Park needs another vacant property so they can build an apartment or parking garage. Business friendly Oak Park? Not ever!

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