Illinois food service down over 40 percent


A waiter with a face mask carries food in a restaurant in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, May 14, 2020. In Austria restaurants may open again under certain conditions from Friday on. The Austrian government has moved to restrict freedom of movement for people, in an effort to slow the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

CHICAGO, Ill. (WMBD) — A study from the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) Thursday said the state lost 44 percent of jobs in the accommodation and food service industry due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place.

As the state enters Phase 4 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan, which takes effect Friday, June 26, IPI put out the study showing that the state took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois lost 233,500 jobs in accommodation and the food service industry due to the restrictions and safety guidelines implemented in earlier phases of the reopening plan.

In a press release, IPI included data from the U.S. Department of Labor that showed 46,005 Illinoisans filed for unemployment in the last week. That brought the total jobless claims to 1,335,433 since COVID-19 began affecting economic stability in March.

IPI spokesperson Orphe Divounguy said limiting operations for Illinois’ food service industry until there is a vaccine is unsustainable.

“That will only make a large number of temporary job losses permanent for the people already hurt the most,” Divounguy said. “Gov. J.B. Pritzker should re-examine ways to mitigate negative economic effects related to the virus lockdowns and identify opportunities for these small businesses to have more latitude in operating.”

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