Rich Miller: COVID changes make for fresh Illinois challenges

In other words, if you want to protect Grandma (and a whole lot of other folks), you gotta control community spread. Nursing homes aren’t isolated bubbles. Workers, contractors, vendors, visitors, etc. come and go all the time. Whatever is in the community has a good chance of getting into those facilities and then can spread like wildfire.

DuPage County’s own contact tracing shows the second most outbreaks between September 29 and October 13 were connected to restaurants. The most? Long-term care and assisted living centers. That’s just one of several reasons why the state is focusing on restaurants.

Some folks, including the Illinois Restaurant Association, are referencing some DuPage stats that go back to March to claim that restaurants aren’t a real problem. Except, restaurants and taverns were closed for months last spring. Of course they weren’t a source.

Countless restaurants and bars are centers of their communities and many of their proprietors are widely respected. Not to mention that the hospitality industry is an incredibly large and important segment of the state’s economy.

There is no doubt that some very good, hardworking people are about to face financial ruin, owners and employees alike. And a lot of those owners have relationships with their legislators, mayors and other powerful types.

Point being, the governor is facing a different sort of challenge than last spring. We were mostly in it together back then. But now the virus is forcing the state to single out an organized, motivated and influential constituency and those folks are bound to gain significant traction, especially if heavily populated suburban Cook and Chicago are put into mitigation.

Rich Miller publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and

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October 23, 2020 at 05:13PM

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